Staff profile - Yamini Narayanan

Staff image

Dr Yamini Narayanan

Position: Senior Research Fellow
role description
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Arts and Education
Department: Alfred Deakin Institute
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 924 46808 +61 3 924 46808



Dr. Yamini Narayanan is an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Senior Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. Her work explores the notion that that religion influences urban development in India, and must inform policy. India's scale and speed of urbanisation makes its sustainable urban development critical globally, yet modernist urban planning has failed to address slum growth, poverty, gender inequality and ecological crises.
More recently, her research has begun investigate to the ways in which animals – particularly those regarded as heritage or sacred icons in India, such as cattle – are invoked as symbols of human identity politics and/or as resources for growth in cities. Animals have a significant yet invisible role of in city building, and urban religion can be complicit in enabling animal exploitation for urban development. Her work now also seeks to develop frameworks for multi-species inclusive urban planning.
Her book Religion, Heritage and the Sustainable City: Hinduism and Urbanisation in Jaipur (Routledge) was published in 2015, and edited volume Religion and Urbanism: Reconceptualising Sustainable Cities in South Asia (Routledge) was published in 2016. She also publishes widely in media on issues related to animal rights, including The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, Huffington Post and Animal People Forum. She has been interviewed at the animal rights radio channel Freedom of Species, and for documentaries on vegan political philosophy and animal rights advocacy in India.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, 2008

Professional activities

  • Member, Animal Welfare Board of India, Ministry of Environment, Government of India [2016-ongoing
  • Advisory board member, Visakha Society for the Care and Protection of Animals
  • Member, Human Animal Research Network [HARN], University of New South Wales
  • Board of Directors, International Sustainable Development Research Society [ISDRS] (July 2013-ongoing)
  • Member, American Association of Geographers (2015-ongoing)
  • Member, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (2014-ongoing)


Knowledge areas

• Animals/nonhumans and urban planning
• Animals and religion/heritage
• South Asia/Indian cities
• Women and planning
• Religion and planning


Awards and prizes


  1. ARC DECRA, 2014-2017, 'Religion and Urban Development in India: Planning Sustainable Cities'
  2. Perth Convention Bureau Early Career Development Scholarship - $10,000, May 2012
  3. University of Oslo Honorarium for CERES21 research article (KOK 10,000), February 2011


Research projects

My DECRA project explores the ways in which religious symbols, rituals, values and other socio-political frameworks impact different aspects of urbanism in Indian cities, and the implications therein for secular urban policy. The research has evolved to examine the use of living animal symbols - specifically cattle - in religion, and their highly significant and yet invisible role in city building. Considerations of the living sentient nonhuman is a large gap in urban development and planning studies.

Research grants


  1. ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award (2014-2017), 'Religion and Urban Development in India: Planning Sustainable Cities', DE140101764.
  2. Deakin CRGS 2014 [Deakin University Central Research Grants Scheme] (offered October 2013) - $13,000
  3. Small Research Funding (March 2014), Alfred Deakin Research Institute, $5000.
  4. Alfred Deakin Research Institute, Deakin University, Research Funding Support (July 2013) - $4423.



Selected Publications [2016-14]

Edited works
Narayanan, Yamini. ed. 2016. Religion and Urbanism: Reconceptualising Sustainable Cities for South Asia. Oxford: Routledge.

Narayanan, Yamini. ed. 2016. Special Issue on ‘Religion, Sustainable Development and Policy: Principles to Practice'. Sustainable Development, 26 (2).


Narayanan, Yamini. 2015. Religion, Heritage and the Sustainable City: Hinduism and Urbanisation in Jaipur. Oxford: Routledge.

Journal articles

Narayanan, Yamini. 2016. Religion, Development and Policy. Sustainable Development 26 (2).

Narayanan, Yamini. 2016. Where are the animals in sustainable development? The case for ethical stewardship in animal husbandry. Sustainable Development 26 (2).

Narayanan, Yamini. 2014. Quo Vadis, Delhi? Urban heritage and gender: towards a sustainable urban future. International Journal of Heritage Studies 20 (5): 488-499.

Book Chapters

Narayanan, Yamini (forthcoming). Violence against women in moving transportation in Indian cities: reconceptualising gendered transport policy. in Engendering Cities: Designing Sustainable Urban Spaces for All. eds. Ines Sanchez de Madariaga, Sonia de Greogorio Hurtado and Michael Neuman. London: Routledge. 

Narayanan, Yamini. 2016. "Animals and urban informality in sacred spaces: Bull-calf trafficking in Simhachalam Temple, Vishakapatnam." in Religion and Urbanism: Reconceptualising Sustainable Cities for South Asia, ed. Yamini Narayanan. London: Routledge. 143-161.

Narayanan, Yamini. 2016. "Religion and Sustainable Cities: Framing the Concepts." in Religion and Urbanism: Reconceptualising Sustainable Cities for South Asia, ed. Yamini Narayanan. London: Routledge. 1-23.

Narayanan, Yamini. 2016. " Religion and Urban Policy for South Asia: Where Next?" in Religion and Urbanism: Reconceptualising Sustainable Cities for South Asia, ed. Yamini Narayanan. London: Routledge. 201-210.

Narayanan, Yamini. 2016. "Deep Ecology and Urban Conservation Principles for Urban Villages: Planning for Hauz Khas Village, Delhi city." in Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability: International Frameworks, National and Local Governance, eds. Sophia Labadi and William Logan. London: Routledge. 291-307

Narayanan, Yamini. 2015. "Women's 'right to sustainable development': integrating religion and a rights-based approach." In Routledge International Handbook of Sustainable Development, eds. Michael Redclift and Delyse Springett. Oxford: Routledge, 404-416.

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