School of Geography

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Sengsilchi Bolwari Marak

PhD Student,


Research Summary

Decolonising Forests? A Colonial and Postcolonial Study of North-East India

The North-Eastern region of India, a home to about 145 tribal communities, often referred to as Indigenous Communities had a distinct colonial and postcolonial experience in terms of its forest administration. Forests in the region have both economic and cultural attachments but tribal communities in the region are no exception to the forest rights deprivation faced by other indigenous communities worldwide. The current doctoral study focuses on the colonial forest policies and contemporary forest legislations namely, timber ban of 1996 and Forest Rights Act 2006 in the North-East states of India. By adopting decolonial lens, which is to look at these policies from the viewpoint of the North-East tribal communities, this study aims to bridge the narratives between the colonial forest rights and the more contemporary forest rights of the tribal communities, thereby contributing to decolonial geography of tribal communities in the postcolonial non-settler North-East India.

Combining archival work and historical research, this research aims to unpack coloniality of forests and its contestations in the North-East region by providing plurality of voices rather than depending only on archival materials, which are only a product of one-sided collection of records.

Supervisors: Prof. Stephen Legg and Prof. Sarah Jewitt

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