Photo of Lecturer Meera Karunananthan

Lecturer Meera Karunananthan

Feminist geography; water justice and hydro-social conflicts in the global South; racial capitalism and decolonial theory; political ecology; community-engaged and movement drive research

Phone:613-520-2600 x 2567
Office:B450A Loeb Building


Conflicts over the control of freshwater supplies have become a defining feature of capitalism in the 21st century. As an engaged researcher, I am committed to theorizing these “hydro-social” conflicts by bringing critical geography and feminist theory into conversation with knowledge produced by grassroots movements at the frontlines.

My academic work is shaped by many years of experience in environmental and social justice organizing. Building on relationships with feminist, indigenous and environmental justice movements, my current research investigates the processes that produce uneven distribution of water in cities of the global South. As a feminist political ecologist, I am concerned with the ways in which market-based solutions to climate change and drought reproduce power asymmetries and legitimize the ongoing dispossession of historically marginalized groups. Specifically, I examine the  racialized, class-based and gendered impacts of privatization, and financialization of urban water systems.

Before joining Carleton, I was the director of the Blue Planet Project, a global water justice organization founded by the Canadian NGO, the Council of Canadians. In this role, I supported global trans-local organizing aimed at building connections between local water justice struggles through research and popular education strategies.

My methods of research and analysis are influenced by the work of BIPOC feminists whose study of racial capitalism is foregrounded by the experiences of women living at the intersections of race, gender, colonial and class-based oppression.

2023-2024 courses

  • FYSM 1107 Fall/Winter – Social Justice and the City
  • ENST 2001 Fall – Sustainable Futures: Environmental Challenges and Solutions
  • GEOG 3024 Winter – Understanding Globalization

Selected publications

  • Karunananthan, M. (2019). Can the human right to water disrupt neoliberal water policy in the era of corporate policy-making. Volume 98, January 2019, Pages 244-253.
  • Karunananthan, M. (2021). From kampung to courtroom: Feminist praxis and rights campaigns in poor urban women’s struggles for water justice in Jakarta. In Peake, L et al (Eds) A Feminist Urban Theory For Our Time. Antipode Book series, Wiley Blackwell.

Selected non-refereed publications

Published reports