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Kelly D. Alley, the Alma Holladay Professor of Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts, will be presenting a paper with her co-author, Tarini Mehta, at the University of Edinburgh on June 16. The paper “Draining Legal Activism: Delay and persistence in India’s legal discourse,” will be presented as part of the two-day symposium, Taking Nature to the Courtroom in South Asia. The symposium will bring together international scholars with track records on the topics of environmental issues and the relationship between ecology and religion in South Asia.

“Dr. Alley’s research has proven to be crucial to the environmental issues surrounding India,” said College of Liberal Arts Dean Joseph Aistrup. “Her work continues to merit attention from international leaders and scholars. We are proud and pleased with her collaborations and with the important inroads she’s developed over the past 20 years while conducting research in northern India.”

Alley’s research focuses on public culture and environmental issues. Her latest book, “On the Banks of the Ganga: When Wastewater Meets a Sacred River” (University of Michigan press 2002), explores Hindu interpretations of the sacred river Ganga in light of current environmental problems. In a new project funded by the National Science Foundation, Alley is examining the potential of decentralized programs of wastewater management to meet the wastewater challenge in India.

“Dr. Alley’s current international research investigates decentralized responses to water contamination and water shortages,” said Carole Zugazaga, chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work. “Though focused on wastewater in the Ganges River system in India, her project will produce case studies in treatment, recycling, water monitoring and environmental regulation that can be shared globally. Dr. Alley’s body of research consistently demonstrates a pattern of collaborative work that contributes to empirical and theoretical knowledge, discourse and action worldwide.”

Alley has worked with the World Water Forum and UNESCO to incorporate understanding of cultural diversity into water management. She is now working on water governance in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin and has produced an interactive website featuring hydropower projects and wastewater management infrastructure with colleagues and students.

This research has been supported by the Center for Forest Sustainability and the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University. In 2011, she was awarded the President's Outstanding Collaborative Units award with members of the Center for Forest Sustainability at Auburn.

More information about Alley is available online.
For more about the symposium, visit the symposium website.