Savannah Schulze

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Purdue U.

Grant number

Gr. 9306

Approve Date

April 20, 2016

Project Title

Schulze, Savannah M., Purdue U., West Layfayette, IN - To aid research on 'Implications of Exclusion for Batwa Communities: Remaking their Histories in a Multispecies Protected Landscape,' supervised by Dr. Melissa Remis

Preliminary abstract: This proposal seeks funding for dissertation research that examines place and identity among contemporary Batwa foragers, former forest dwellers now living on the borders of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP), Uganda. Drawing upon pilot research conducted in 2015, this research will investigate how the Batwa negotiate their collective and individual identities in a multivalent, multiscalar, and multispecies landscape. As a UNESCO world heritage site centered on mountain gorilla conservation and tourism, the BINP landscape provides a unique opportunity to investigate how historical processes, conservation efforts, and new ecotourism projects fundamentally challenge and change what it means to be Batwa. At Bwindi, the primary commitment of government officials, NGOs, and park rangers is to protect gorilla populations, especially in the light of ecotourism and its capacity for revenue generation. My study design presents a unique approach to ecological data collection in BINP by providing long-term multi-sited research in contrast to previous short-term field studies primarily within a single site. In coupling ethnographic interviews, cultural mapping, and spatial data analysis, this research will contribute fine-grained, nuanced ethnographic attention to the role of space and place in Batwa identity. This study will examine contemporary Batwa’s interconnectedness to space and place, at the border of Bwindi Park where multispecies interactions now occur, thus integrating multispecies and space and place literatures to further anthropological understandings of resiliency and maintenance of cultural identity among transforming forest communities.