2021 Summer Student Research Project | Multi-Species Ethnography: Animal Protection, Indigenous Hunting, and the Golden Apple Snail

Supervisor: Jeffrey Nicolaisen, Visiting Instructor, Duke-DKU Global Fellows Program

Project Description

This summer, our research group learned about the concept and research methods of multi-species ethnography by transcribing interviews and conducting original field research. The interviews are conducted by Prof. Jeffrey Nicolaisen and Prof. Yen-Ling Tsai on multi-species ethnography topics. Prof. Nicolaisen’s research is regarding indigenous peoples and a conservation-inspired Buddhist group in Taiwan, and their conflict over hunting. Prof. Tsai’s research is about the migration of the golden apple snail. Besides learning formal interview techniques and multi-species ethnography concepts from the transcription process, we also did our own research on human-bird relations in mainland China by conducting participant observation and interviews with various groups of people, including bird photographers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and bird guides. In this report, we will write briefly about the transcription process, and put our emphasis on the original research.

Student Researchers

Danyang Shi is a senior majoring in Environmental Science with a track in Public Policy. She has a strong interest in conservation and wants to explore the possibility of interpreting conservation through the lenses of a broader range of disciplines, systems, and values judgments. Danyang’s role in this summer research project was to keep track of the transcription of Prof. Nicolaisen’s interviews and producing posters for the project team.

Winnie Liao is a junior student at Duke Kunshan University. Her major is Environmental Science/ Biology track. Winnie is an experienced bird-watcher, and she took this opportunity of engaging in Prof. Nicolaisen’s research to develop her own project that connects bird-watching and multi-species ethnography.

Shuming Zhang is a student from class 2024 interested in Arts and Humanities. Her main work was to transcribe interviews, mainly those conducted by Professor Tsai, about different people’s diverse comprehension on multi-species relationships in Taiwan.

Research Poster