Shaila Seshia Galvin_2018


Affiliated with the Centre for International Environmental Studies
Spoken languages
English, French, Hindi
Areas of expertise
  • Agriculture, land and rural development
  • Civil society, social movements, Trade Unions, NGOs
  • Climate, climate change, natural disasters
  • Conservation, biodiversity
  • Development, cooperation and aid policies
  • Emerging countries
  • Environment, environmental policies, law, and economics
  • Globalisation
  • Governance, local and international
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • South Asia


Environment and Society
Anthropology in/of Institutions
Histories, Theories and Practices of Development
Agrarian Worlds
ANSO Doctoral Research Seminar I: Themes and Debates



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Shaila Seshia Galvin is a sociocultural anthropologist whose research examines intersecting processes of agrarian and environmental change. Her abiding interests in this intersection have led her to focus particularly on how emerging practices of sustainability—from organic agriculture to climate change mitigation—become bureaucratized and standardized, and with what implications for human-environment relations more broadly. 

Her book Becoming Organic: Nature and Agriculture in the Indian Himalaya (Yale University Press, 2021) explores how the the rise of commercial organic agriculture, and along with it, third-party certification, standardisation and contract farming, reshapes the relations of nature and agriculture, state bureaucracies and agricultural markets, farmers and agrarian intermediaries, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand.  A research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, Accounting for Nature: Agriculture and Mitigation in the Era of Global Climate Change, will run from 2021-2005. This project aims to generate new understandings of mitigation by studying intersections of agriculture and bioeconomies, as well as the proliferation of audit technologies and accounting methodologies as tools of environmental management and governance. 

Shaila Seshia Galvin received her PhD from Yale University in Anthropology and Environmental Studies, and also holds an MPhil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.



Becoming Organic: Nature and Agriculture in the Indian Himalaya. Yale University Press, 2021.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

2021. “Subsistence, Justice, Precarity: Revisiting the Moral Economy of the Peasant,” Journal of Asian Studies, 80(2):391-397.

2020.  “Chains of Meaning: Crops, Commodities, and the Spaces Between,” World Development 135: 105070. Co-authored with Sarah Osterhoudt, Dana Graef, Alder Keleman, and Michael Dove (second author).

2018. "Interspecies Relations and Agrarian Worlds."  Annual Review of Anthropology 47:233-49

2018. "The Farming of Trust: Organic Certification and the Limits of Transparency in Uttarakhand, India."  American Ethnologist 45 (4):495-507

2016. ‘Ecology of the Himalaya,’  Oxford Bibliographies.  New York: Oxford University Press. (reviews received November, 2014)

2014. ‘Organic Designs and Agrarian Practice in Uttarakhand, India,’ Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment: The Journal of Culture and Agriculture, 36(2): 118-128.

2011.  ‘Nature’s Market: A Review of Organic Certification,’  Environment and Society: Advances in Research, 2, 48-67.

1998. ‘Divide and Rule in Indian Party Politics: The Rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party,’ Asian Survey, Volume 38 (November): 1036-1050.

Book Chapters

2006.  ‘Farming and Food Research: Participation and the Public Good,’ with Tom MacMillan. In
Ethics, Law and Society. Eds., Jenny Gunning and Søren Holm. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Published Articles, Reports and Reviews

2006.  ‘Packaging Nature, Marketing the Environment: New Work on Science Frictions’, Anthropology News, 47 (6), September.  (Co-author with Jeremy Campbell, Nikhil Anand, Adam Henne, and Amelia Moore)

2004.  Review of Does Civil Society Matter?  Governance in Contemporary India, Rajesh Tandon and Ranjita Mohanty, in Pacific Affairs, 77(3): pp: 593-594.

2003.  ‘Understanding Access to Seeds and Plant Genetic Resources: What Can a Livelihoods Perspective Offer?’ with Ian Scoones.  Livelihoods Support Programme Working Paper No. 6. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

2003. ‘Seed Trails and Sustainable Livelihoods: Understanding Access to Seeds and Plant Genetic Resources.’ Livelihoods Support Programme, Briefing Note No. 3. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

2003. ‘Tracing Policy Connections: The Politics of Knowledge in the Green Revolution and Biotechnology Eras in India’, IDS Working Paper No. 188. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies. (co-authored with Ian Scoones)

2003.  ‘Livelihood Dynamics: Rural Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe’, IDS Bulletin, 34(3), pp. 15-30. (Co-author)

2003.  ‘The Rural Poor, the Private Sector and Markets: Changing Interactions in Southern Africa’,
IDS Bulletin, 34(3), pp. 64-78. (Co-author

2003.  ‘Decentralisations in Practice in Southern Africa’, IDS Bulletin, 34(3), pp. 79-96. (Co-author) 2003.  ‘Rights Talk and Rights Practice: Challenges for Southern Africa’, IDS Bulletin, 34(3), pp. 97-
111. (Co-author)

2002.  ‘Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights in India: Law-making and the Cultivation of Varietal Control,’ Economic and Political Weekly, 37 (27), pp. 2741-2747.


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