River Life and the Upspring of Nature (Paperback)
In River Life and the Upspring of Nature Naveeda Khan examines the relationship between nature and culture through the study of the everyday existence of chauras, the people who live on the chars (sandbars) within the Jamuna River in Bangladesh. Nature is a primary force at play within this existence as chauras live itinerantly and in flux with the ever-changing river flows; where land is here today and gone tomorrow, the quality of life itself is intertwined with this mutability. Given this centrality of nature to chaura life, Khan contends that we must think of nature not simply as the physical landscape and the plants and animals that live within it but as that which exists within the social and at the level of cognition, the unconscious, intuition, memory, embodiment, and symbolization. By showing how the alluvial flood plains configure chaura life, Khan shows how nature can both give rise to and inhabit social, political, and spiritual forms of life.
Naveeda Khan is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University, author of Muslim Becoming: Aspiration and Skepticism in Pakistan, also published by Duke University Press, and In Quest of a Shared Planet: Negotiating Climate from the Global South, and editor of Beyond Crisis: Re-evaluating Pakistan.