Ms. Kerala Cowart

Grant Category: Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Program
Field of Specialization: Anthropology
Name: Ms. Kerala Cowart       
Official Address: Harvard University, Law School
Indian Host Institution: Tata Institute of Social Sciences,
Mumbai, Maharshtra
Duration of Grant &
Start Date :
Duration: 9 months
August 2011

Brief Bio:
Kerala Thie Cowart received her Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 2011. At Harvard, she served as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She is interested in government and public interest litigation in the areas of health, safety, and environmental protection. During her second year of law school, Ms. Cowart worked at the Harvard Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, contributing to litigation supporting the Cape Wind Project, which is planned to be the first commercial-scale, offshore wind farm in the United States. In 2009, she published a student note, titled "On Responsible Prosecutorial Discretion", which explored the topic of unconscious racial bias in the criminal justice system. Before coming to Harvard, Ms. Cowart spent three years at the Avascent Group, a management consulting firm. While at Avascent, she worked on a project for the Washington, D.C. Superintendent of Education to identify problems and potential solutions in the special education monitoring program. Previously, she spent a year in rural Japan teaching English. Ms. Cowart obtained her B.A. in political science from Pomona College and is originally from Seattle, Washington.

Ms. Kerala Cowart's Fulbright-Nehru research is titled as "Shades of Saffron and Green: Participatory Reforms and Environmental Governance in India." In her research she will study and investigate to what degree does the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process in India function as a space for meaningful civic participation? Decentralization theory recommends devolving environmental policy to the local level and creating democratic forums for citizen involvement. These reforms may improve government accountability and empower marginalized groups. She will assess how well EIAs in India accomplish these goals.