09 February 2017

An Anthropologist, a Climate Scientist, and a Geographer walk into NASA...

The joke introduces a recent news article describing a new project that brings together various scientists to study changing patterns of urbanization and land use in the Himalayan region. This project will combine satellite imaging data with other qualitative data including census information, data concerning flow of remittances and land use, as well as the results of new ethnographic studies. These latter projects will take place in India, Nepal, and Bhutan for the purpose of understanding 'why' and 'how' different economic, political and social forces influence urbanization.

This overview of the research reads like a well-crafted SSHRC proposal, outlining the knowledge mobilization: Turin and Shneiderman (two Canadian UBC Anthropologists) hope to create conduits for effective information transferring between the researchers and local communities, national governments and development organizations. Such channels will help ensure that the results of the study can be broadly disseminated, but also that the needs and concerns of those in the communities being studied can be communicated back to the team to further inform the direction of the research.

The article ends with Turin describing how he will leverage the partnerships he and his wife (Dr. Shneiderman) have built over the last 25 years to connect with local need and take the results back to communities at all levels. 

This quick article in the Ubussey highlights some really interesting research collaborations for anthropologists and highlights some of the unique attributes they bring to such an endeavor.