Dancing with the River: People and Life on the Chars of South Asia

Crawford School of Public Policy

Event details


Date & time

Thursday 04 July 2013


Brindabella Theatre Level 2, JG Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crossing, ANU


Professor Heather Goodall, Associate Professor Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt


Yanhong Ouyang
02 6125 4387

You are invited to the launch of Dancing with the River People: People and Life on the Chars of South Asia, a book by Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt and Gopa Samantha. The book will be launched by Professor Heather Goodall, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, and the event will include the premiere of an ANU-made video about the book.

In this groundbreaking book, the authors explore the world of chars—the part land, part water, low lying sandy masses that exist within the riverbeds in the flood plains of lower Bengal. Chars are examined, both as real life examples and as metaphors; how they straddle the conventional categories of land and water; and how people who live on them fluctuate between legitimacy and illegitimacy. Dancing with the River results in a study of human habitation between the nebulous space between land and water encouraging readers to think in a new way about land, people, and ways of life.

Dancing with the River prompts readers to reconsider the view that land and water form two different elements of the physical environment. The book aims to encourage the rethinking of ideas of security and vulnerability as absolute, measurable, and equally applicable to everyone.

Professor Heather Goodall has worked in collaborative research projects with Aboriginal communities in NSW and in central Australia. She was a historical researcher in two Royal Commissions and her recent research has focused on gendered and racialised interactions through rivers and oceans.

About the authors

Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt is a Senior Fellow for the Resources, Environment and Development group, Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University.

Gopa Samantha is an associate professor in geography at the University of Burdwan. She lives in Golapbag, Burdwan, India.

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