My current research interests include questions of: more-than-human sociality and identity formation, human-environment relationships, multispecies ethnography, learning and enskilment, ethnographic methods, ethics, care and wellbeing, domestication, hunting, multi-species reproductive technologies, atmosphere and weather, phenomenology, ethno-ethology, Anthropology of Britain
I am a social anthropologist with an interest in the interdisciplinary field of human-animal studies concerned with questions of how humans perceive, think about and relate to other than human living beings. In my research I am interested in addressing the conceptual, methodological, as well as ethical challenges that arise when social scientists open their analysis to other living beings as active participants in shared social worlds.
I am currently Research Fellow at Arctic Domus, an interdisciplinary, ERC funded research project, based at the University of Aberdeen and lead by Professor David Anderson. Here I am interested in how the concept of domestication might be rethought through finding a more nuanced language to talk about the dynamism of human-animal sociality away from notions of absolute human domination or stark categories of the ‘wild’ and the ‘tame’. In my research I am looking at the practices involved in captive breeding of birds of prey, which is based upon ethnographic fieldwork with falconers and breeders mainly in the UK. It will further involve archival research and an analysis of debates surrounding the controversial practice of hybridisation in captive breeding. My research will particularly focus on human-bird communication and co-learning, the built environment, technologies of breeding, the notion of imprinting and breeders everyday conceptualisations of heredity and reproduction.
My current research builds upon and develops further from my recently completed PhD research which was supervised by Professor Tim Ingold and Dr Andrew Whitehouse. In my thesis, entitled “On the Wing: Exploring Human-Bird Relationships in Falconry Practice”, I trace the complex relationships involved in taming, training and hunting in cooperation in which falconers, birds and dogs are involved. The thesis challenges an anthropocentric mode of anthropological inquiry as it demands to open the traditional focus of anthropology to consider meaning making, sociality and knowledge production as co-constituted through the activities of humans and other living beings. My PhD research was awarded the RAI Sutasoma Award for the potentially outstanding contribution to the discipline of anthropology in 2013. Other funding bodies included: The International Rotary Foundation; Falconry Heritage Trust; Deutscher Falkenorden; Principle’s Excellence Fund, University of Aberdeen.
I am the founder and convenor of the newly established EASA Network 'Humans and Other Living Beings', co-convened with Dr Ursula Muenster (LMU Munich/Rachel Carlson Centre) and Dr Charlotte Marchina (INALCO, Paris).
The inaugural meeting of the network will be held at the coming EASA conference in Milan, in case you are interested in becoming a member and in joining the mailing list of the network please get in touch with me by email.