Science, Technology, and Society Seminar: STS Circle at Harvard


Monday, March 27, 2017, 12:15pm to 2:00pm


CGIS Knafel Building, 1737 Cambridge Street, Bowie-Vernon Room (K262)

"Eco Swaraj: Can India's Model of the the Micro Transform Development for the 21st Century?"


Meera Subramanian, Freelance Journalist; Fellow, Knight Science Journalism Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Co-sponsored by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University.


Shana Ashar


Sheila Jasanoff, Faculty Associate. Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School.

Lunch is provided if you RSVP via our online form by Thursday of the week before the event.


In this exploration of life, loss and survival in modern-day India, Subramanian shares findings and photographs from her book, A River Runs Again: India's Natural World in Crisis from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka. Using the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and ether) as a framework, she traveled across India to seek out the ordinary people and micro-enterprises determined to guide India into a more sustainable future. Could India be the perfect place to shift from an outdated model of the macro — big dams, industrial agriculture, nuclear power, all developed in the West — to a new model of the micro? Should it choose this path, India could create a sustainable model of development that could be implemented elsewhere, from industrializing China to electrifying sub-Saharan Africa, to drought-stricken America, with its crumbling infrastructure.


Meera Subramanian is a freelance journalist, MIT Knight Science Journalism fellow, Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellow, and the author of A River Runs Again: India's Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka, which was short-listed for the 2016 Orion Book Award. Her award-winning features have been published in Nature, The New York Times, The New, Virginia Quarterly Review, Orion, and her essays have been anthologized in Best American Science and Nature Writing, as well as multiple editions of The Best Women’s Travel Writing. She earned an MA in Journalism from New York University in Cultural Reporting and Criticism. Based in Cape Cod, you can find her at and @meeratweets.