Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Anthropology

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 302 pages) : 1 color illustration.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Elise Andaya

Committee Members

Jennifer Burrell, Robert Jarvenpa


Development, Gender, India, NGOs, Scheduled Tribes, Watershed project, Women, Bhil, Bhil (Indic people), Women in development, Water resources development

Subject Categories

Asian Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Through the close examination of a state-sponsored watershed project being implemented by Association for Integrated Social Development (AISD) in the district of Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh, this dissertation project explores how current development approaches in water projects impact its intended targets, in this case the Bhil tribal community. A key aspect of this research is to analyze in detail how development narratives such as participatory or bottom-up approaches and gender mainstreaming often result in unintended consequences. With a focus on the gendered nature of participatory policies, I argue that popular development practices in India often lead to governing and managing target populations, rather than the purported objectives of poverty-alleviation and women’s empowerment. Far from providing solutions to development problems, these practices leave behind unintended consequences that in certain cases produce very gendered resonances, especially in projects targeting women.