Water Institute WaterTalk Lecture by Sharad Lele

Thursday, January 28, 2016 2:30 pm - 2:30 pm EST
Water Institute's 2015-16 WaterTalks Lecture Series continues with Sharachchandra Lélé, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, India.

Lélé's WaterTalks lecture is titled: Bridging many divides: Building an interdisciplinary understanding of water issues in a developing country context.
Water problems in general are ‘wicked’ problems that demand an interdisciplinary approach to addressing them. In developing countries like India, the pressing nature of water problems does not permit the luxury of fragmented analysis. But carrying out interdisciplinary and change-relevant research is easier said than done, especially within academia. On the one hand, it involves bridging the research-action divide. On the other hand, it involves bridging not just the ‘big divide’ between the natural and social sciences, but also the ‘bigger divide’ within the social sciences. And sometimes it requires bridging the gap between what reality seems to demand and what donors seem to be bothered about! I explore the multi-dimensional nature of these divides, with examples from water research in India. I argue that adopting a ‘problem-driven’ approach and explicitly embracing multiple normative concerns and multi-causality offers us a way towards more socially meaningful and rigorous research.
About the Speaker
Sharad Lélé is a highly interdisciplinary environmental scholar, trying to bridge the natural sciences, economics, and political science in understanding the concepts of and pathways to environmentally sustainable and socially just development. He combines an interest in the concepts of sustainable development, sustainability and environmental justice with an urge to do knowledge generation that is more directly linked to change on the ground by balancing academic and applied research and teaching. His empirical work has focused on issues in forest and water resource management in South Asia. He is particularly interested in the performance of institutions for environmental governance, including forest governance, water service delivery and water pollution control. He is currently leading a major IDRC-funded project on the impacts of climate change on water management in rapidly urbanizing basins in peninsular India, and part of other studies on water pollution regulation and sustainable water for Bangalore city.

For those unable to attend in person, the lecture will also be available via Livestream during and after the lecture.