Gordon Lewis Ulmer

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Humboldt State U.

Grant number

Gr. 10480

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Ulmer, Gordon (Humboldt State U.) "Multispecies Encounters on the Gahwtco’ (Redwood) Coast: Landscapes of Precarity and Survivance in Times of Change"

This project builds conduits between landscape ecology, multispecies ethnography, and Indigenous studies to trace the social histories of biotic lifeforms in wildland-urban transition zones on California’s Redwood Coast, a region experiencing sea level rise at a faster rate than anywhere else on the West Coast. The question driving this research is: What can the social biographies of flora, fauna, fungi, and microorganisms in disturbed landscapes teach us about human precarity and survivance in this moment of climate crisis? To address this question, I will conduct ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, facilitate community-based participatory research with tribal members on the cultural significance of various organisms, and collaborate with local environmental organizations and others engaged in addressing human-wildlife-plant interactions. Together, we will produce social biographies of key organisms by situating them in broader sociocultural and political economic contexts and by tracing interconnections between history, ecology, capital, settler colonialism, and human/more-than-human social worlds. This project will push the discipline forward by engaging with Indigenous communities in a co-investigatory process and by putting into dialogue diverse publics, epistemologies, theoretical frameworks, and modes of inquiry to trace the social histories of keystone organisms and to better understand and adapt to the current climate crisis.