Dr Megnaa Mehtta

Institute for Global Sustainable Development

Post-doctoral Fellow

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Dr Megnaa Mehtta
Institute for Global Sustainable Development
Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS)
219 Portobello
S1 4DP

Megnaa Mehtta is a social anthropologist with an interest in values, mythologies and ideas of well-being as they intersect with debates in global conservation and political ecology. As a postdoctoral fellow at Sheffield, she is currently working on a book manuscript titled Conserving Life: Political Imaginaries from a Submerging Forest. Her research is based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans, a global conservation hotspot, located on the borders of India and Bangladesh. Megnaa received her PhD in 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 writings have appeared in journals such as the Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, American Ethnologist, and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.   

Alongside her academic writing, Megnaa mediates between a range of environmental stakeholders, including lawyers, activists, filmmakers and conservationists, with the aim of working towards locating specific fault lines and debates within conservation practices, as well as convivial forms of learning across regions, disciplines and forms of intervention. She is interested in sharing insights gained through anthropological and environmental research with wider reading publics. Within this trajectory, her writings on conservation and its relationship to forest-based livelihoods, debates on disaster “relief”, contested conceptions of development and planning, the moral and political stakes of ideas of over-consumption, and the gendered struggles of resource use within households, have featured in public forums including National Public Radio (NPR), The Telegraph (India), The Diplomat, SAPIENS, and Himal South Asia.


PhD, Social Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science (2020)

M.Sc, Social Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science (2014)

B.A, Anthropology, Yale University (2010)

Research interests

political ecology; conservation; commons; forest governance; myth; anthropology of emotions & ethics; sufficiency and consumption; women’s (re)productive labour; supply chains; rights-activism; migration; ecological refugees; illegality

Teaching interests

Anthropology of Aspiration; Conservation as a Moral Question; State, Governance and Everyday life; Inequality and the Ecological Crisis