The NSF CAREER Award project explores latrine use and non-use as a spatial and political problem. The award was received in 2010 and fieldwork started in 2011. The project investigates the complex social, economic, environmental and political geographies influencing the construction and use of latrines at four separate sites in rural India. Ethnographic research and secondary data collection was completed in villages in Rajasthan (2011), Tamil Nadu (2012), and Uttarakhand (2013). The last phase of data collection in rural Maharashtra will be completed in 2016. This research contributes to political geography and political ecology theory by exploring the contests over access to, and meanings of, space and resources (e.g., land and water) that occur during the implementation of sanitation projects. The CAREER Award project also contains a plan for feedback and dissemination of results, as has all of Kathleen’s previous research.
other two projects are in collaboration with scholars and activists from the Society for the Promotion of Participatory Ecosystem Management (Pune, India), the University of Oklahoma, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) on women’s experiences of psycho-social stress due to violence surrounding access to sanitation and open defecation in rural sites in two Indian states – Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. These two projects follow-on from funded research on urban, gendered violence faced by slum-dwelling women in two Indian cities. These three projects have been funded by: 3ie; the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council; Sanitation and Hygiene Research for Equity; and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. They were sponsored to enable research that is evidence-based, and that can (and has) informed policy.