Omar Faruque, who completed his PhD in the Department of Sociology in January 2019, has been awarded a two-year Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship to pursue research in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen’s University for the 2019-2021 academic years. The SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship program is funded by the Canadian government and seeks to “support the most promising Canadian new scholars in the social sciences and humanities, and assist them in establishing a research base at an important time in their research careers.”
Omar’s doctoral dissertation titled, Mining Capitalism and Contentious Politics in Bangladesh, examines a multi-scalar mobilization against a planned mineral extraction project in Bangladesh. Drawing on a conceptual framework derived from critical development studies, social movement studies, and critical globalization studies, it analyzes three distinct scales of mobilization contesting developmental outcomes of a potentially environmentally destructive coal mine, neoliberal energy policies and privatization of resource extraction, and the contribution of multilateral institutions to the slow violence of resource extraction. Based on a set of in-depth interviews with local and national activists and transnational advocacy groups, it examines each of these scales (local, national, and transnational) through the lens of a specific theoretical approach. The dissertation research was supervised by John Hannigan, Zaheer Baber, Josee Johnston, and Erik Schneiderhan. Omar has published several papers on this project in Asian Journal of Social Science (forthcoming, June 2019), Journal of Contemporary Asia, Bangladesh Unnayan Shamikkhaya (in Bangla), The Extractive Industries and Society, Asian Journal of Political Science, and Social Movement Studies.
For his postdoctoral program, Omar will extend his research interests on globalization, development, and social movements. His new research project titled, Climate Crisis, Energy Democracy, and Environmental Movements in Bangladesh will analyze popular struggles over energy policies in the Global South. Existing scholarship on energy democracy emphasizes the effects of corporate power and the lack of political participation of local communities in shaping energy policy regimes. This project will contribute to this body of knowledge by focusing on the nature of state-society relations in the Global South. It will analyze the role of extractive political institutions, which pose significant challenges for civil society groups mobilizing to democratize public policies in the energy sector. This project will also examine the role of new actors in development. Using the conflict over the most contentious power generation project in Bangladesh (an India- Bangladesh joint venture to build a large coal-based power plant near the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world) as a case study, it will problematize the role of India – a ‘needy donor’ and a new actor in development interventions – particularly its commercial and political interests in South Asia.