Mr. Matthew Shutzer is a recent graduate from Northeastern University with a B.A. magna cum laude in history with a focus on transnational comparable history. He has worked in India previously, studying land tenure issues, sustainable agriculture and the public distribution system in Orissa. As an undergraduate Mr. Shutzer also worked on an organic farm as an agricultural apprentice and received a research grant from Northeastern University to study the social dynamics of microfinance programs in Peru through a Cambridge, Massachusetts based non-profit, Root Capital. In anticipation of long-term study in India, he completed an eight week Bengali language immersion program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison following his graduation. Academically, Mr. Shutzer is interested in the study of globalization as an object of historical inquiry, the growth of linguistic nationalism in India, post-colonial theory and the epistemological structures of social justice in economic development programs. He is also interested in new models of entrepreneurship, social organization and credit systems as areas of social welfare capacity building in developing agricultural communities.
Mr. Schutzer’s Fulbright-Nehru research titled “Conservation Entitlements and Cultural Space” seeks to examine the use and regulation of communally pooled resources, namely forests and forest councils, in western Orissa. This research will investigate how non-agricultural based economic activities, such as forest foraging and local production of saleable goods, may affect household incomes for families with marginal landholdings and promote social capacity building for women’s groups and panchayats. Taken as an imperative of both environmental (ecological) and social need, this project attempts to analyze networks of poverty that reproduce unsustainable relationships to agriculture and forest resources. By charting how these dynamics work within and upon one another, this project seeks to document how democratic institutions (social capacity) promote economic standards of living at the household level through the equitable management of community accessed resources.