By Meena Khandelwal on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020
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A colleague in engineering took a group of students to visit a village in Rajasthan, India; they learned that women and girls were trekking long hours to find and haul firewood that was once available just outside their homes-simply to cook a meal. Availability of a solar cooker, they thought, would not only address the problem of deforestation but would also ease women’s workload and put more girls in school. The engineers’ consideration of perspectives from cultural anthropology and gender studies led to an awareness that the cook-stove problem is not only technological, but also environmental, cultural and political. The project now involves a multi-disciplinary group of colleagues conducting research on the complex nexus of forests, energy, gender relations, health, consumption and culture.Thus far, three publications have resulted from this collaboration.