Grant TypeFejos Postdoctoral Fellowship
Institutional AffiliationOklahoma, U of
Grant numberGr. 10644
Approve DateOctober 12, 2023
Project TitleDeAngelo, Darcie (Oklahoma, U of) "Learning to Love Rats"
Learning to Love Rats is a collaborative ethnographic film with three deminers who find unexpected partnerships with an animal normally understood as a pest: a rat. They use their military know-how to detect landmines in the minefields of Cambodia, but also call on the help of Giant Gambian Pouched rats who sniff for TNT. These rats were introduced to Cambodia in 2015 and the ethnographic footage comes from that time, capturing the three deminers’ developing relationships with their rats. Co-produced with Malenn, Chamroeun, and Sokhiem, the deminers tell the story of their introduction to the landmine detection rats and the struggles they had to learn to love them. These stories are reflected by the footage that offers sensory ethnographic details of their learning processes. The rats and deminers learn how to navigate landmines and new relationships together, becoming favorites, “little sisters,” “best friends,” and beloveds.