Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationChicago, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9939
Approve DateOctober 24, 2019
Project TitleZhuang, Shuting (Chicago, U. of) "Monitoring Ecologies: Chinese State and the Infrastructure of Conservation in the National Park of Tibet," supervised by Dr. Julie Chu
This project investigates how China’s first national park in Tibet is being constructed under a “three-in-one” ecological monitoring system and how indigenous Tibetan communities experience this change. While Tibetan Plateau has been the locus of state-led conservational experiments for decades, the establishment of the first national park with the “three-in-one” monitoring system marks a transition in the regime of conservation. Not only does this system feature a “real-time” effect across different spatial scales, it also recruits local Tibetan communities to be part of the technological infrastructure by working as the “ecological guards”. My research asks how this transition takes place and what are its implications. Particularly, I ask what new forms of governing power are emerging from the technological scaling up of the monitoring system to create and maintain China’s largest national park; what modes of temporalities are being reconfigured through the monitoring infrastructures; and how to make sense of Tibetan grassroots activists’ participation in appropriating monitoring technologies in this process. To examine “ecologies” as the mediating process through which political categories become reshaped, this project proposes 15 months of fieldwork including interactions with national park administrative, technical staff, ecological scientists, local Tibetan residents and grassroots activist groups.