Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt is a Professor in the Resource, Environment and Development Program at Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University. She is one of the leading global experts in critical research on the length and breadth of gender and community livelihoods in two areas of natural resources: water and extractive industries (mining).
Most of her research is on South Asia, but she has led a number of major research projects in Indonesia, Lao PDR and Mongolia.
Kuntala has published on how rivers are ‘imagined’ and how the ungovernable chars (river islands) blur the boundary between land and water. Her research on changing perceptions and practices of water use by middle class, urban households, and her reflections on feminist methodologies on researching water and gender have charted new ways of thinking about water resources.
She currently has three Australian Research Council funded research projects. She is the sole Chief Investigator of a large ARC Discovery Project grant, ‘Beyond the Resource Curse’ to explore informal mining in India, and the Co-Investigator on an ARC Linkage Project, ”Going for Gold’. Both projects are exploring agrarian change, informal mining by peasants and their mineral-dependent livelihoods. Together, the two projects cover India, Laos and Indonesia.