Profile image of Yamini Narayanan

A/Prof. Yamini Narayanan



Associate Professor


Faculty of Arts and Education


School of Hum & Social Science


Melbourne Burwood Campus

+61 3 924 46808


Dr Yamini Narayanan is a Senior Lecturer in International and Community Development. Her work makes substantive contributions to the rapidly emergent field of South Asian Animal Studies through a twin focus on animals in political, and urban life in India. It addresses species as an explicit identity category in Indian national politics, through the intersections of anthropocentrism, sectarianism, and casteism. Her forthcoming book Mother Cow, Mother India (Stanford University Press) 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 work on urban animals is the first to theorise species as part of populations in urban informal spaces. This has consequences for a fuller theorising of urban animal geographies and informalities, particularly in the Global South. Her current work theorises animal labour in Indian brick kilns. Yamini's work is published in leading journals including Environment and Planning A, D and E; Urban Geography; Geoforum; Hypatia; and South Asia.

Yamini’s research is supported by two Australian Research Council grants. Yamini is the founding Convenor of the Deakin Critical Animal Studies Network, and is a lifelong Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, an honour that is conferred through nomination or invitation only.

In 2019, Yamini was awarded Deakin University's Vice Chancellor’s Award for Mid-Career Research Excellence. 

Yamini serves as Special Issues Editor of Urban Geography; Associate Editor of Environmental Humanities; and South Asia Editor for Asian Studies Review.

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, BBC Brazil, 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’ 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

Deakin University Vice Chancellor’s Award for Mid-Career Research Excellence, 2019

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

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 informality 
  • Animals and authoritarian politics 
  • Speciesism, casteism and racism
  • Ecofeminism and animals 
  • 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

Special Issues Editor, Urban Geography

Associate Editor, Environmental Humanities 

South Asia Editor, Asian Studies Review 

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’ -

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. Arising out of her DECRA project, her new book Mother Cow, Mother India (Stanford University Press) will be published in US Winter 2022. 


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An Ecofeminist Politics of Chicken Ovulation: A Socio-Capitalist Model of Ability as Farmed Animal Impairment

Y Narayanan

(2024), pp. 1-21, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, Cambridge, Eng., C1

journal article

Mother Cow, Mother India A Multispecies Politics of Dairy in India

Yamini Narayanan

(2023), Stanford, Calif., A1


Theme issue introduction: The species turn in Indian identity politics

Yamini Narayanan, Krithika Srinivasan

(2023), Vol. 6, pp. 1-14, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, London, Eng., C1

journal article

For multispecies liberatory futures: Three principles toward "progress" in anti-anthropocentric environmental geography

Yamini Narayanan

(2023), pp. 1-12, Progress in Environmental Geography, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Global Atmospheres of Violence: Shifting Terrains of Othering in Feminist Multispecies Witnessing

Kathryn Gillespie, Yamini Narayanan

(2022), pp. 335-353, Ecofeminism : feminist intersections with other animals and the earth, New York, N.Y., B1

book chapter

Animating caste: visceral geographies of pigs, caste, and violent nationalisms in Chennai city

Yamini Narayanan


journal article

'A pilgrimage of camels': Dairy capitalism, nomadic pastoralism, and subnational Hindutva statism in Rajasthan

Yamini Narayanan

(2021), pp. 1-20, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Violence against women in moving transportation in Indian cities: reconceptualising gendered transport policy

Yamini Narayanan, Yamini Narayanan

(2020), pp. 1-10, Engendering cities : designing sustainable urban spaces for all, New York, N.Y., B1

book chapter

Recognizing animal personhood in compassionate conservation

A Wallach, C Batavia, M Bekoff, S Alexander, L Baker, D Ben-Ami, L Boronyak, A Cardilin, Y Carmel, D Celermajer, S Coghlan, Y Dahdal, J Gomez, G Kaplan, O Keynan, A Khalilieh, H Kopnina, W Lynn, Y Narayanan, S Riley, F Santiago-Ávila, E Yanco, M Zemanova, D Ramp

(2020), Vol. 34, pp. 1097-1106, Conservation Biology, United States, C1

journal article

'Posthuman cosmopolitanism' for the Anthropocene in India: urbanism and human-snake relations in the Kali Yuga

Y Narayanan, S Bindumadhav

(2019), Vol. 106, pp. 402-410, Geoforum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

"Cow Is a Mother, Mothers Can Do Anything for Their Children!" Gaushalas as Landscapes of Anthropatriarchy and Hindu Patriarchy

Y Narayanan

(2019), Vol. 34, pp. 195-221, Hypatia, C1

journal article

Jugaad and informality as drivers of India's cow slaughter economy

Y Narayanan

(2019), Vol. 51, pp. 1516-1535, Environment and planning a - economy and space, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Cow protection as 'casteised speciesism': Sacralisation, commercialisation and politicisation

Y Narayanan

(2018), Vol. 41, pp. 331-351, South Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies, C1

journal article

Cow Protectionism and Bovine Frozen-Semen Farms in India

Y Narayanan

(2018), Vol. 26, pp. 13-33, Society and Animals, C1

journal article

Animal ethics and Hinduism's milking, mothering legends: analysing Krishna the butter thief and the Ocean of Milk

Y Narayanan

(2018), Vol. 57, pp. 133-149, Sophia, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

Street dogs at the intersection of colonialism and informality: 'subaltern animism' as a posthuman critique of Indian cities

Y Narayanan

(2017), Vol. 35, pp. 475-494, Environment and planning D: society & space, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Religion, urbanism and sustainable cities in South Asia

Y Narayanan

(2016), pp. 1-23, Religion and urbanism: reconceptualising sustainable cities for South Asia, Abingdon, Eng., B1

book chapter

Deep ecology and urban conservation principles for urban villages : Planning for Hauz Khas Village, Delhi City

Y Narayanan

(2016), pp. 291-307, Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability International Frameworks, National and Local Governance, Abingdon, Eng., B1

book chapter

Animals and urban informality in sacred spaces: bull-calf trafficking in Simhachalam Temple, Vishakapatnam

Y Narayanan

(2016), pp. 143-161, Religion and Urbanism: Reconceptualising sustainable cities for South Asia, Abingdon, Eng., B1

book chapter

Religion and urban policy for South Asia: where next?

Y Narayanan

(2016), pp. 201-210, Religion and Urbanism: Reconceptualising sustainable cities for South Asia, Abingdon, Eng., B1

book chapter

Hindu and Muslim women's everyday relations and agency: Gender and the Ganga-Jamni tehzib in Jaipur

Y Narayanan

(2016), Vol. 57, pp. 22-29, Women's studies international forum, Amsterdam ,The Netherlands, C1-1

journal article

Religion, sustainable development and policy: principles to practice

Y Narayanan

(2016), Vol. 24, pp. 149-153, Sustainable development, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Where are the animals in sustainable development? Religion and the case for ethical stewardship in animal husbandry

Y Narayanan

(2016), Vol. 24, pp. 172-180, Sustainable development, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Religion, heritage and the sustainable city : Hinduism and urbanisation in Jaipur

Y Narayanan

(2015), Abingdon, Eng., A1


Women's 'right to sustainable development': integrating religion and a rights-based approach

Y Narayanan

(2015), pp. 404-415, Routledge international handbook of sustainable development, Abingdon, Eng., B1

book chapter

Quo vadis, Delhi? Urban heritage and gender: towards a sustainable urban future

Y Narayanan

(2014), Vol. 20, pp. 488-499, International journal of heritage studies, Abingdon, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Religious symbolism and the politics of urban space development

Y Narayanan

(2013), pp. 326-337, Handbook of research on development and religion, Cheltenham, Engand, B1

book chapter

Religion and sustainable development : analysing the connections

Y Narayanan

(2013), Vol. 21, pp. 131-139, Sustainable development, Oxford, England, C1-1

journal article

Inspiring sustainability beyond sustainability: sustainable development and the ultimate Hindu purpose

Y Narayanan

(2013), Vol. 8, pp. 301-323, Nature and culture, Oxford, England, C1-1

journal article

Violence against women in Delhi: a sustainability problematic

Y Narayanan

(2012), Vol. 7, pp. 1-22, Journal of South Asian development, Thousand Oaks, California, C1-1

journal article

Sustainable consumption as a means to self-realization: a Hindu perspective on when enough is enough

Y Narayanan

(2010), Vol. 18, pp. 252-259, Sustainable development, Chichester, England, C1-1

journal article

Entrepreneurship and sustainable tourism: the global gypsies approach

J Macbeth, Y Narayanan

(2009), pp. 239-251, Making ecopreneurs: developing sustainable entrepreneurship, Surrey, England, B1-1

book chapter

Deep in the desert: merging the desert and the spiritual through 4WD tourism

Y Narayanan, J Macbeth

(2009), Vol. 11, pp. 369-389, Tourism geographies: an international journal of tourism space, place and environment, Abingdon, England, C1-1

journal article

In a city like Delhi: urban spirituality, sustainability and women

J Kenworthy, D Marinova, Y Narayanan

(2006), Vol. 3, pp. 1-22, Portal: journal of multidisciplinary international studies, Sydney, NSW, C1-1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

Religion and Urban Development in India: Planning Sustainable Cities

A/Prof 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

A/Prof Yamini Narayanan, Prof Jennifer Wolch

ARC - Discovery Projects

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

Animals and geopolitics in South Asian borderlands

A/Prof Yamini Narayanan

ARC Fellowships - Future Fellowships

  • 2024: $75,763
  • 2023: $124,387



Davita Coronel

Thesis entitled: Learning to Live with Flying-foxes: an Argument for Feminist and Indigenous Ethics of Care

Doctor of Philosophy, School of Humanities and Social Sciences