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ResourceCultures of Rice and Wheat in South and Central Asia. Religious and (agro-) economic dimensions of cereals

Bild 79 RessourcenKulturen korr

Project Management: Prof. Dr. Roland Hardenberg (Frobenius Institute at Goethe University)

Project staff: Togzhan Utetileuova, Indhubala Kesavan, Suneet Kumar

Duration: July 2021 - June 2025

Funding: German Research Foundation within the framework of SFB 1070

Cooperation partners: University of Groningen, Netherlands (Prof. Dr. Peter Berger, Ethnology; Prof. Dr. René Cappers, Archaeobotany), Nazarbaev University, Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan (PD Dr. Jeanine Dagyeli), Utkal University (Prof. Dr. Sabita Acharya, Vice-Chancellor), Sharanya Nayak (MA Sociology), WASSAN team group (Dinesh Balam)

Funding volume: approx. 606.000 Euro (four years)

 The project is part of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC 1070) “ResourceCultures”. It focuses on three case studies based on long-term field research on rice cultivation in southern and western Odisha (India) and on wheat cultivation in Kazakhstan. The first case study focuses on rice cultivation in western Odisha, a region where the goddess Lakshmi is identified with rice and where various groups and NGOs draw on religious practices and beliefs in an attempt to counter the damage of the Green Revolution. The second case study examines practices related to rice in an “ecological hotspot,” the tribal highlands of Odisha. Rice is also considered by these highlanders (Adivasis) to be the embodiment of the goddess Lakshmi, and many different local rice varieties are still found in their fields today. In recent years, these have also become the subject of NGO activities based on the religious practices of the highlanders. The third case study focuses on changes in the management of wheat in Kazakhstan. Wheat (products) occupy a central role in rituals. The case study explores how the meaning of wheat and its spiritual patron, Baba Deyqan, has changed as a result of industrial agriculture and Soviet 'new land' campaigns. At the same time, it asks whether and to what extent the reconsideration of one's religious heritage draws on wheat as a resource and makes it useful for sustainability efforts.