NIAS Wednesday Discussion - Ms. Shubhangi Srivastava will speak on “Canine ecologies under contagion pressures: Altered human-dog relations in pandemic-struck India”

NIAS Wednesday Discussion



Topic:              “Canine ecologies under contagion pressures:  

Altered human-dog relations in pandemic-struck India”                    


Speaker:          Shubhangi Srivastava

                        Doctoral Research Scholar, Animal Behaviour and Cognition Programme, NIAS


Chairperson:   Sneha Gutgutia

                        Doctoral Research Scholar, Animal Behaviour and Cognition Programme, NIAS


Date:               26 May 2021 


Time:               4.00 PM 


Meeting Link  Click here to join the meeting  


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The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown it has ensued in the country has equally impacted the lives of the poor and rich, those out on the streets and inside homes, urban and rural. Very importantly, quarantined living has seriously impacted our interconnectedness and interrelatedness, going beyond humans to include and affect nonhumans as well. The everyday rhythms of human and nonhuman living have been altered dramatically and in often unfamiliar ways. In this talk, I attempt to take you on a virtual journey of an Indian city, focussing on networks of human-nonhuman relations, examining how these relations have developed and changed during the quarantine period. 


During the lockdown period, dogs have become one of the few voices – or noises – that one can hear on the streets. Once overflowing with leftover food and garbage to forage on, the streets are now grounds of scarcity. Although close to humans since times immemorial, the recent pandemic has changed the affective values that dogs generate amongst humans. Especially following the study relating the origin of SARS-CoV-2 from the intestinal tract of stray dogs (Xia, 2020), there has been a significant, though surprising, spike in the abandonment of pet dogs in the streets across Indian cities (Adak, 2020). The fear of contracting the virus seems to have even overcome the love for one's pets. Furthermore, the hordes of migrant people who returned home were also forced to abandon their pet dogs. 


In my talk, I will follow these polarised voices over dogs to understand how dogs are a matter of concern in the urban, what it means to think of the canines in these pandemic times and how it has affected their ecologies. Through an understanding of the affective relatedness between humans and their canine companions, I examine how the pandemic has led to a change in the realised position of animals in the city.  


About the speaker:  


Shubhangi Srivastava is currently pursuing her doctorate in the School of Natural Sciences and Engineering at NIAS under the guidance of Prof. Anindya Sinha. 



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For further info, please contact Prof Anindya Sinha [] or Shri K S Rama Krishna [], Coordinators of the NIAS Wednesday Discussion Meetings. 


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Wednesday, May 26, 2021