Georgina Drew

Dr Georgina Drew

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Faculty of Arts

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

My work fits within the fields of environmental anthropology and the critical anthropology of development. I am particularly interested in struggles over resource use and management in South Asia and in the Himalaya more broadly. Two main threads bring together the specific topics that I have examined. The first is the cultural and religious politics that shape resource management decisions (as well as the conflicts that result). The second is the challenge of inclusive and culturally sensitive resource use.  These threads often lead me to work with social movements and to write into the field of social movement studies. While I have in the past predominantly looked at these issues in rural areas, I am increasingly focusing on urban zones (and the urban metabolism of rural resources).

The Cultural Politics of Resource Management

The contributions I have made to scholarship on the cultural politics of resource use draws from ethnographic data and anthropological concepts to examine the diverse meanings and values associated with water that charge resource conflict as well as the ways that water access can inform human emotions, senses of self, and notions of belonging. Since cultural politics involve the processes enacted when social actors contest dominant meanings and practices, I have examined the nuances of human-water relationships while investigating the criticisms of dam opponents and the complaints of villagers who lament the privatisation of groundwater for the benefit of the soda beverage industry. My scholarship overlaps with studies in religion and ecology, a field in which I also contribute by exploring topics such as Hindu responses to glacial melt and other climate change impacts evident in the Himalaya. In Australia, my work in this field extends its focus on cultural politics to examine the colonial and 'decolonial' approaches to water that impact contemporary indigenous water rights.

Inclusive and Culturally Sensitive Resource Management

If current patterns of imbalanced water management and development practices persist in South Asia, millions of people will suffer from a lack of access to basic resources. My work contributes to insights on the movement processes that impact social change and policy by illuminating how people contest hierarchies of access and control. I take an ethnographic approach to the study of activists and the movements in which they participate that is sympathetic to their efforts while still critical of the limitations and shortcomings of social movement politics. This work includes critical discussion of the role that anthropologists can play in fostering participatory, policy-relevant research. My approach has a keen gender analysis and my work focuses on explaining the difficulties that women in movements experience to be seen and heard. The emphasis I have placed on the gendered and socio-economic dimensions of water inequity attracts invitations to submit to special volumes on the topic of women and water. My expertise is also in demand for interdisciplinary discussions of policy relevance.


  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2017 Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
    2013 - 2016 Lecturer University of Adelaide
    2011 - 2013 Postdoctoral Fellow The New School
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2016 Fellowship Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Australian Research Council 344,324
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2005 - 2011 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States PhD in Anthropology
    2005 - 2007 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States M.A. in Anthropology
    2001 - 2004 San Francisco State University USA M.A. in International Relations
    1996 - 2000 Santa Clara University United States B.S. in Anthropology

2016-2019 Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellow of the Australian Research Council

2016 National Science Foundation Methods Workshop Award for the study of Text Analysis at the University of Florida, USA

2014 University of Adelaide Faculty Research Centre Competitive Funding Scheme Award

2010 Rotary Research Scholar at Tribhuvan University in Katmandu, Nepal

2009-2010 Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation

2009 Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellow

2009 Graduate Tuition Incentive Grant from the UNC Graduate School,
2008 Off-Campus Dissertation Research Grant from the UNC Graduate School
2008 Research Travel Grant from the Center for Global Initiatives (CGI)
2008 Eric Estes Memorial Scholarship for study at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies
2008-2009 Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellow for advanced Hindi at UNC, Chapel Hill,
2007 FLAS Fellow, advanced Hindi, Landour Language School in Mussoorie, India
2007-2008 FLAS Fellow, intermediate Hindi/Urdu at UNC, Chapel Hill
2006 FLAS Fellow, intermediate Hindi, Landour Language School in Mussoorie, India
2005-2006 FLAS Fellow, beginning Hindi/Urdu at UNC, Chapel Hill

Course Coordinator: Anthropology of Everyday Life; University of Adelaide, Semester One 2014 & 2015

Course Coordinator: Anthropology Today: Experience, Power, Practice; University of Adelaide, Sememester Two 2013, 2014, & 2015

Instructor: Everyday Religion in India; The New School, Spring 2013

Instructor: Religion and Sustainable Environments; The New School, Spring 2012

Instructor: Ecology and the Himalaya; The New School, Fall 2011 & Fall 2012

Graduate Assistant: Global Issues; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Spring 2011

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 Co-Supervisor Curing Diabetes Through Motherly Care: the Gendered Politics of Homemade Food in Hyderabad Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Pallavi Laxmikanth
    2019 Co-Supervisor Exploring epigenetics in response to intergenerational trauma in Indigenous Australia: race, gender, and the production of scientific knowledge. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Henrietta Rose Byrne
    2017 Co-Supervisor 'Natural' and 'Holistic' Mothering: an Ethnographic Case Study in Adelaide Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Jaye Louise Litherland-De Lara
    2017 Co-Supervisor Relearning the Limits of Growth: An Inter-disciplinary Coherence of Urban Planning and Water Cycles in Dhaka City Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Mehbuba Tune Uzra
    2016 Principal Supervisor Water harvesting in Parseeling, India Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Matt Barlow
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2016 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Built for Extraction: Dependence, Sovereignty and Development in Timor-Leste Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Terese Geraghty
    2015 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Becoming well in Kerala: marked and unmarked spacetimes of everyday Ayurveda Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Bronwyn Jayne Hall
    2015 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Microfinance behind closed doors: women and agency in rural Nepal Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Concetta Scarfiello
    2014 - 2017 Co-Supervisor The Political Economy of Labour Migration from Bangladesh: Power, Politics and Contestation Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rupananda Roy
    2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Great Expectations: African-Australian Marriage Migration in an Ethnography of Aspirational Happiness and Everyday Racism Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Henrike Albertine Hoogenraad
    2014 - 2018 Co-Supervisor 'Troubled Lives': Vulnerability, Livelihoods and Capabilities of Homeless Women Living in a Train Station in Dhaka, Bangladesh Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Shoshannah Kate Williams
    2013 - 2016 Principal Supervisor The Rise of the Hung Temple: Shifting Constructions of Place, Religion and Nation in Contemporary Vietnam Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Thi Diem Hang Ngo
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83135095
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Napier, floor 1
  • Room: 1 26
  • Org Unit: Anthropology and Development Studies

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