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Talk by Dr. Sharad Lele, Tuesday, October 9, 2012


You are cordially invited to




Dr. Sharad Lele, Senior Fellow, ATREE, Bangalore will speak on:


' Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Environment: Insights from Research on Tropical Forests'


Tuesday October 9, 2012
2.30 PM
Rm 316, Dwarka Campus


That understanding and response to the environmental crisis requires interdisciplinary thinking is now almost passé. But implementing interdisciplinary and integrated analysis, especially within academia, is easier said than done. On the one hand, it involves negotiating the research-action boundary. 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. The speaker offers a four-dimensional framework of values, theory, methods and institutions to understand the barriers to interdisciplinarity in environmental research and problem-solving. He will then use research on forest degradation as an example to illustrate how disciplinary perspectives constitute different combination of values, theories and methods to arrive at different conclusions about an environmental problem. Moving towards a ‘holistic’ understanding requires recognizing both the strengths and limitations of each perspective, speaking to multiple values and bridging seemingly incompatible theories by remaining somewhat ‘indisciplined’. This has significant implications for how we structure interdisciplinary teaching programmes.


Sharachchandra (Sharad) Lele has a B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering in IIT Bombay (1984) and Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley (1993), in which he studied forest use in the Western Ghats. He is currently working as Convenor of the Centre for Environment & Development at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bengaluru. Sharad’s research interests include conceptual issues in sustainable development and sustainability, and analyses of institutional, economic, ecological and technological issues in forest, energy and water resource management. Among other governmental policy panels, he was a member of the MoEF-MoTA Forest Rights Act committee, and a founder-member of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics. His ongoing research includes forest governance and ecosystem service distribution in Odisha, tendu patta policy in Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, and water management in urbanising watersheds in the presence of climate change.