Book : Reigning the River

Anne Rademacher, Reigning the River: Urban Ecologies and Political Transformation in Kathmandu. Durham : Duke University Press, 2011

“A major contribution to the nascent anthropology of urban environments, Reigning the River illuminates the complexities of river restoration in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital and one of the fastest-growing cities in South Asia. In this rich ethnography, Anne M. Rademacher explores the ways that urban riverscape improvement involved multiple actors, each constructing ideals of restoration through contested histories and ideologies of belonging. She examines competing understandings of river restoration, particularly among bureaucrats in state and conservation-development agencies, cultural heritage activists, and advocates for the security of tens of thousands of rural-to-urban migrants settled along the exposed riverbed. Rademacher conducted research during a volatile period in Nepal’s political history. As clashes between Maoist revolutionaries and the government intensified, the riverscape became a site of competing claims to a capital city that increasingly functioned as a last refuge from war-related violence. In this time of intense flux, efforts to ensure, create, or imagine ecological stability intersected with aspirations for political stability. Throughout her analysis, Rademacher emphasizes ecology as an important site of dislocation, entitlement, and cultural meaning.”

See Also :

Anne M. Rademacher and K. Sivaramakrishnan, Ecologies of Urbanism in India: Metropolitan Civility and Sustainability. New York : Columbia University Press, 2013

Aditya Batra, “River Restoration is not just an ecological act. Interview with Anne M. Rademacher”, Down To Earth, April 30 2012. Available online.

Programme of upcoming Lectures (May-June 2013) at the EHESS Paris available here. 

Books : Technocracy in East and Southeast Asia

Joel Andreas, Rise of the Red Engineers. The Cultural Revolution and the Origins of China’s New Class. Stanford : Stanford University Press, 2009

“Rise of the Red Engineers explains the tumultuous origins of the class of technocratic officials who rule China today. In a fascinating account, author Joel Andreas chronicles how two mutually hostile groups—the poorly educated peasant revolutionaries who seized power in 1949 and China’s old educated elite—coalesced to form a new dominant class. After dispossessing the country’s propertied classes, Mao and the Communist Party took radical measures to eliminate class distinctions based on education, aggravating antagonisms between the new political and old cultural elites. Ultimately, however, Mao’s attacks on both groups during the Cultural Revolution spurred inter-elite unity, paving the way—after his death—for the consolidation of a new class that combined their political and cultural resources. This story is told through a case study of Tsinghua University, which—as China’s premier school of technology—was at the epicenter of these conflicts and became the party’s preferred training ground for technocrats, including many of China’s current leaders.”


Hiromi Mizuno, Science for the Empire. Scientific Nationalism in Modern Japan. Stanford : Stanford University Press, 2009

“This fascinating study examines the discourse of science in Japan from the 1920s to the 1940s in relation to nationalism and imperialism. How did Japan, with Shinto creation mythology at the absolute core of its national identity, come to promote the advancement of science and technology? Using what logic did wartime Japanese embrace both the rationality that denied and the nationalism that promoted this mythology? Focusing on three groups of science promoters—technocrats, Marxists, and popular science proponents—this work demonstrates how each group made sense of apparent contradictions by articulating its politics through different definitions of science and visions of a scientific Japan. The contested, complex political endeavor of talking about and promoting science produced what the author calls “scientific nationalism,” a powerful current of nationalism that has been overlooked by scholars of Japan, nationalism, and modernity.”


 See Also :

Kaiser Kuo, “Made in China. The Revenge of the Nerds”, TIME Magazine, June 27 2001. Available online.

Li Cheng & Lynn T. White, “China’s Technocratic Movement and the World Economic Herald”, Modern China, Vol.17 N.3, Jul. 1991

Takashi Shiraishi & Patricio N. Abinales, After the Crisis: Hegemony, Technocracy and Governance in Southeast Asia. Kyoto : Trans Pacific Press, 2005

Takashi Shiraishi, “Technocracy in Indonesia. A preliminary analysis”, RIETI Discussion Papers, 06-E-008, 2006. Available online.

Jungwon Yoon, “The technocratic Trend and its Implication in China,  Science & Technology in Society: An International Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Conference, Washington, DC, March 31-April 1, 2007. Available online.

Guy J. Pauker, “Are there Technocrats in Southeast Asia?”, Asian Survey, Vol.16 N.12, Dec. 1976

Richard Hooley, “The contribution of Technocrats to Development in Southeast Asia”, Asian Survey, Vol.16, N.12, Dec 1976

John James MacDougall, “The Technocratic Model Of Modernization : The Case of Indonesia’s New Order.”, Asian Survey, Vol.16, N.12, Dec. 1976

Laurence D. Stifel, “Technocrats and Modernization in Thailand”,  Asian Survey, Vol.16, N.12, Dec. 1976


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