New & Noteworthy Items

Thomas Crowley's new book on Delhi's urban ecology

Fractured Forest, Quartzite City, a new book by Rutgers Geography PhD candidate Thomas Crowley, is the first book to explore the ecological history of Delhi and Its Ridge. 

Crowley Fractured Forest Book Cover

The book, jointly published under the Yoda-SAGE Select imprint, seeks to explore Delhi's history with its environment at the front and centre. With supporting illustrations by Deepani Seth, this well-researched text highlights the significant role of Delhi’s ‘green lung’ – its long-standing past and present.

The book combines first-person explorations with in-depth historical narratives to bring forth the Ridge’s complex, multi-faceted history, while also sketching out its interconnections with local, regional, national, and global geographies.


A sprawling megacity of nearly twenty million people, Delhi has forgotten its ecological history, a key part of which is the Ridge, often referred to as Delhi's ‘green lung’. At various points, Delhi has been a crucial hub of politics, warfare, trade and religious expansion on regional and global levels. Placing Delhi’s environment at the front and centre of its unique history, the book tells the tale of the Ridge, which resonates far beyond the boundaries of India's capital. The Ridge offers a crucial vantage point for viewing these historical and geographical interconnections. Its trees can't be separated from the stones below them, nor the cities that rose and fell around them. Only with this perspective does a clear picture of the Ridge—and Delhi as a whole—emerge.

Thomas recently joined the Yodakin podcast to discuss the book. Listen here.


Thomas Crowley has spent over a decade researching and writing about environmental politics and history in India. From 2010 to 2017, he conducted intensive research on the Delhi Ridge for the NGO Intercultural Resources, as well as for the “City as Studio” fellowship program at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi.

Crowley received his B.A. in Philosophy from Yale University in 2007, completed a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Pune from 2008–2009, and served as a Social Science Fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany from 2016–2017. He has written extensively on Indian politics for Jacobin magazine. He has also written for Kafila, as well as for peer-reviewed academic journals, including Emotion, Space and Ecology and Ethics and the Environment. He is currently researching the politics of water and caste in Maharashtra as a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography, Rutgers University (USA).


“This lucid, well-researched account reaches back into ancient history, encompasses recent political and economic events, and makes a passionate plea for protecting the Ridge as a forested commons open to all city-dwellers. 

─ Amita BaviskarProfessor of Sociology Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, India


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