Contributing Editor, Platypus, The CASTAC Blog
Jaime is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. His dissertation explores how scientists, rural residents, and government officials produce, circulate, and use knowledge about biodiversity in regions impacted by the civil war in Colombia.
Contributions to Platypus, The CASTAC Blog
View all of Jaime's posts on Platypus, The CASTAC Blog.
Birding in Ruins: Multispecies Encounters and the Ecologies of Evidence
As we walked by some of the former shrimp ponds in an abandoned aquaculture farm, we approached a scene I easily overlooked until Julian asked me to document what was happening. We saw an egret struggling to swallow something, and I simply assumed this was what a hungry egret looked like. However, Julian’s surprise and the wingbeat that seemed to come out of the egret’s beak revealed a more uncommon scene. Through our binoculars, we soon realized that the egret was struggling to swallow another waterbird—to Julian’s fascination, a seemingly undocumented behavior for this species. Skeptical of what he suspected he was witnessing, Julian got as close as he could to the scene and took photos while I made short videos from afar, worried that I would disrupt the egret and its prey if I moved any closer. (more…) (read more...)
Naming Species in Colombia’s Biodiverse Landscapes
There is a unique pair of rules on Sattins Island, in Ursula K. Le Guin’s world of Earthsea. This pair is called The Rules of Names and though these rules circulate among the villagers, they are taught to children by the schoolteacher. Names are allocated on Sattins Island based on a person’s physical characteristics or any other visible aspect of their way of life. The local wizard, for instance, is simply called “Mr. Underhill.” An old wizard known for his ineffective spells but still respected by the villagers, he lives in a cave under a hill and doesn’t enjoy visits. Mr. Underhill was in fact listening to the schoolteacher, Palani, when she was teaching the children about the Rules. Noting his presence, Palani found it instructive to call Mr. Underhill and use his case as evidence for the omnipresence of the Rules. (more…) (read more...)