University College London
Megnaa Mehtta is an environmental anthropologist with an interest in values, mythologies, and
ideas of well-being as these themes intersect with debates in the environmental humanities,
political ecology and understandings of the Anthropocene. She is currently working on a book
manuscript titled Conserving Life: Political Imaginaries from a Submerging Forest based on long-term
ethnographic fieldwork in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans of India and Bangladesh.
Megnaa received her PhD in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics in
2020, before which she studied at Yale University, Delhi University and the University of Cape
Town. Her future research, supported by the AXA Research Fund from 2023-2025, will explore
women’s intra-household vulnerabilities with migration, climate-induced displacement, and
coastal erosion as the backdrop to these shifts, within neighbourhoods and households in the
Bay of Bengal delta.
Alongside scholarly writing and research, she views interventions outside of academia as central
to sustaining her scholarship. In line with this imperative, she works collaboratively with other
academic disciplines, as well as a range of environmental stakeholders, including lawyers,
activists, filmmakers, bureaucrats, policymakers, and NGOs to work towards solutions and
forms of interventions in a moment of deep ecological and political crisis.
Megnaa is currently a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the Institute of Risk and Disaster
Reduction (IRDR) at University College London.
Megnaa Mehtta. Dec 2022 (forthcoming) “Nonhuman Governance: Care and Violence in South Asian Animism in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.” In Vol. 42 No. 3
Megnaa Mehtta. 2021. “Crab Antics: The moral and political economy of greed accusations in the submerging Sundarbans Delta of West Bengal, India.” In the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI). Volume 27 Issue 3.
Megnaa Mehtta, Christopher Edmonds, Illan Noy, & Pabitra Banik. 2021. “The Climate (Ir)resilient Society of the Indian Sundarbans: Tropical Cyclones, Sea Level Rise, and Mortality Risk.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Climate Resilient Societies.
Megnaa Mehtta. (2020). “A New Crisis and an Old Conversation: Reflections on Quotidian Care in the Sundarbans.” In American Ethnologist Pandemic Diaries on Intersecting Crises.
Megnaa Mehtta. (2019). “A Forest of Refuge, or a Forest of Refugees? Moral Valences of Risky Work in the Sundarbans of India.” In the edited volume The Tides of Life: A Sundarbans Anthology
Megnaa Mehtta. (2019). “Unembanking Habitations and Imaginations: Ebbs and flows of the politics of life in the coastal peripheries of India and Bangladesh.” Essay in Monsoon Ontologies.
Megnaa Mehtta. (2019). “Ugly Emotions and the Politics of Accusations.” Volume 37, Issue 2 at the Cambridge Journal of Anthropology.
Megnaa Mehtta. (2022). “The Production of Vulnerability: Generating Aquaculture Profits by Preying on Poverty in the Sundarbans in India in Transition.” Published in India In Transition (IiT) at the Centre for Advanced Studies of India (CASI), in Bangla and English. Guest Editor Debjani Bhattacharyya. Re-published in Scroll.in
Megnaa Mehtta & Debjani Bhattacharyya (2020). “More Than Rising Water: Living Tenuously in the Sundarbans” In The Diplomat. Published 29.08.2020
Megnaa Mehtta & Debjani Bhattacharyya (2020) “Is the Managed Retreat Plan for the Sundarbans Misguided’ In The Diplomat, an international online news magazine, critiquing the plan to relocate large populations from the coastlines of the Sundarbans in the aftermath of cyclones and tidal surges. Published 05.10.2020
Megnaa Mehtta & Kalpita Bhar Paul. (2020). “A Sinking Island of Political Pawns For the residents of Ghoramara island of the Sunderbans, the upcoming elections hold the key to their survival.” in The Telegraph Published 18.03.21
Megnaa Mehtta & Debjani Bhattacharyya (2020). “Is concrete the way forward in rebuilding the Sundarbans?” In The Telegraph. Published 01.07.20