Dr. Divya Narayanan
Climate Change, Famine and Drought in 17th
and 18th century North India
The aim of my post-doctoral research project is to examine the history of climatic change in North India during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, its effects, and human responses to the challenges posed by these developments. My research project focuses particularly on two aspects: famine and drought, and the related issues of food and water resource management. This involves investigating the evidence for climate change, attendant crop failures and water shortages and finally, responses to these natural threats at both the official and unofficial levels. This research follows, in part, my earlier interest in the history of food cultures and dietary patterns. While my doctoral work focussed more on the socio-politics of feasts, i.e. the cultural anatomy of plenty, my current research moves in the opposite direction and aims to dissect the ecologies of famine and scarcity. This project is not merely interdisciplinary, but multidisciplinary, drawing on research techniques from both the natural sciences and the humanities. In particular, I examine Persian documents, archaeological remains of waterworks as well as paleoclimatological records derived from techniques such as dendrochronology and ice-core analysis.