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Priya Chandrasekaran

Priya Chandrasekaran
Priya Chandrasekaran

Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Kirner-Johnson 246

Priya Chandrasekaran is an environmental humanist whose concerns include environmental justice, biodiversity and land practices, philosophies of nature, political ecology, and storytelling, with particular attention to issues of race, gender, and colonial histories. 

In 2018-19, Chandrasekaran was awarded an American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to work on a book about women farmers and small-scale agriculture in the Indian Lesser Himalayas. The book is based on research she did that was supported by the National Science Foundation.

She is also drafting articles on climate and environmental justice, and she continues to write fiction that explores empathy and political solidarity. 

Previously a lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program, Chandrasekaran has also taught at Pratt Institute and Hunter College. She has extensive professional experience as a college writing tutor, outdoor educator, and service-learning program leader throughout the Global South. She received her master’s of fine arts in fiction from The New School and her doctorate in cultural anthropology from the City University of New York Graduate Center. 

Recent Courses Taught

Globalization and Agriculture
Environmental Justice
Climate Science Fictions
Introduction to Anthropology
Political Economy and Environmental History
Research Methods and Ethics
Anthropology and Literature

Research Interests

Environmental, agrarian and climate justice; ethnography; intersections of race, class and gender; cultivated biodiversity; the politics of food; mountain environments in South Asia and Latin America; globalization from below; philosophies of human/nature


  • American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship
  • National Science Foundation, Directorate of Social, Behavioral, Economic Sciences Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant
  • New York Foundation for the Arts Artist’s Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature
  • CUNY Graduate Center Athena Pollis Dissertation Writing Award in Human Rights
  • Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the CUNY Graduate Center Doctoral Fellowship
  • Committee on Globalization and Social Change at the CUNY Graduate Center Mellon Doctoral Fellowship

Select Publications

  • “Thinking Parabolically: Time Matters in Octavia Butler’s Parables.” Theorizing the Contemporary, Fieldsights, December 2018.

  • “Unsettling ‘Indian American Hindus’ and Model Minority Projects in Trump-Era ‘America.’” Berkeley Journal of Sociology: The Roots and Implications of Trump, 2017.

  • “‘The sadder I am, the more I laugh .... ’ Conflicting Values of Strength and Beauty for Women in Uttarakhand, India.” Yearbook of Women’s History (36) 2016: Gendered Food Practices from Seed to Waste

  • “Two Women.” Silk Road Review: A Literary Crossroads, 10, Winter/Spring 2013, OR: Pacific University, 10-19. 

  • “The Stops.” J Journal: New Writings on Justice Volume 3, New York, NY: John Jay College, 120-130.

Professional Affiliations

American Anthropological Association
Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative
Cultural Studies Association
Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Anthropology and Environment Society
Beej Bachao Andolan (Save the Seeds Movement)

Appointed to the Faculty: 2019

Educational Background

Ph.D., CUNY Graduate Center
M.F.A., The New School 
M.A., University of Mississippi
B.A., Cornell University

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