Dr Yamini Narayanan



Senior Lecturer


Faculty of Arts and Education


SHSS Arts & Education


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Doctor of Philosophy, , 2008


+61 3 924 46808


Dr. Yamini Narayanan is Senior Lecturer in International and Community Development. Her work is focussed on two major themes: the nexus between animals and urban planning in India; and the intersections of speciesism, casteism and racism in the ways in which animals are enrolled in nation-building projects. Her forthcoming book will offer one of the first empirical critiques of India’s cow protectionism discourse and politics from a critical animal studies standpoint, examining bovine realities in both sites of production and protection.

Yamini’s research is supported by two Australian Research Council grants. Yamini is the founding Convenor of the Deakin Critical Animal Studies Network, and has served as the founding co-convenor of the ‘Animals and Sociology’ thematic group at TASA. She is a lifelong Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, an honour that is conferred through nomination or invitation only.

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. Yamini publishes widely in media on issues related to animal rights, including the Animal Liberation Currents, The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, Huffington Post and Animal People Forum. She has been interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the animal rights radio channel Freedom of Species, and for documentaries on cow protection politics in India, and animal advocacy in India.

Read more on Yamini's profile

Biography summary

At the cutting edge of the ‘animal turn’ or the ‘posthuman turn’ that is emerging across disciplines in the academe, Yamini’s research is focussed on bringing forth animals as subjects and stakeholders of our co-shared and co-produced social, ecological and political worlds. Specifically, she addresses animals as stakeholders in urban spaces, and as subjects and instruments of nationalist politics in India, and elsewhere in South Asia.

Career highlights

Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics [FOCAE] - 2017-ongoing

Australian Research Council DECRA Senior Research Fellow - 2014-2017


American Association of Geographers

Australasian Animal Studies Association

The Australian Sociological Association (TASA)

Units taught

ADS701 - Introduction to International and Community Development

ADS723 - Development Project Cycle

ADS753 - International and Community Development Internships

AIX701 - Research Project

Knowledge areas

  • Animals and urban planning
  • Animals and religion
  • Speciesism, casteism and racism
  • South Asian/Indian cities

Professional activities

Convenor, Deakin Critical Animal Studies Network

Co-Convenor, Governance, Development and Peace Stream, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation

Consultant Editor, Journal of Animal Ethics

Co-Convenor, Animals and Sociology Thematic Group, TASA [2017]

Member, Human Animal Research Network [HARN], University of New South Wales

Board of Directors, International Sustainable Development Research Society [ISDRS] (2013-2016)

Media appearances

ABC live ‘The World’ 30th May 2017 – ‘The politics behind India’s ban on the sale of slaughter cattle’ - http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/the-world/2017-05-31/the-politics-behind-indias-ban-on-the-sale-of/8574158

Research groups

Deakin Critical Animal Studies Network

Governance, Development, Peace stream, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation


Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics [FOCAE]

ARC DECRA Fellow, 2014-2017, 'Religion and Urban Development in India: Planning Sustainable Cities'

Visiting Fellow, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, May 2017

Incoming Leader Fellow, Australia India Institute @ Delhi, University of Melbourne, November 2016.


Yamini Narayanan leads an ARC Discovery grant (2018-2021), with Prof. Jennifer Wolch, University of California Berkeley, for the project titled "Animals and urban planning: Indian cities as Zoöpolises". In an era of rapid urbanisation and urban biodiversity decline in India, the project aims to address animals as crucial constituents of urban societies. Designed in the final years of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets 2011-20, the project will examine the everyday realities of selected wild, commensal, and commoditised species who live close to humans in ecologically diverse, rapidly growing, medium-sized cities. It will show how these realities are also outcomes of being enmeshed in social frameworks to offer an expanded empirical basis for planning to sustain urban biodiversity, and devise species-inclusive zoöpolises as successful cities of the future.


Yamini Narayanan also led an ARC DECRA project (2014-17) titled 'Religion and Urban Development in India: Planning Sustainable Cities'. The project argued religion influences urban development in India, and must inform policy. Conducted at a time of intensified right-wing politics around cow protectionism in India, the project developed new insights on how animals are enmeshed in religious and fundamentalist narratives around space, place, and power in Indian cities. Numerous publications have arisen from this project in leading forums including Environment and Planning D; South Asia; Geoforum; and Society and Animals, among others. A book coalescing the findings is also in progress.


No publications found

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

Religion and Urban Development in India: Planning Sustainable Cities

Dr Yamini Narayanan

ARC DECRA - Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

  • 2016: $121,015
  • 2015: $135,135
  • 2014: $124,253

Animals and urban planning: Indian cities as Zoopolises

Dr Yamini Narayanan, Prof Jennifer Wolch

ARC - Discovery Projects

  • 2020: $111,624
  • 2019: $83,480
  • 2018: $82,417


No completed student supervisions to report