Dr Rajindra Puri
Senior Lecturer in Environmental Anthropology
Ethnobiological knowledge systems; historical ecology; ethnobotany; tropical forests; hunting; climate change.
- - R.K.Puri@kent.ac.uk
- - 01227 (82)3148
School Roles and Responsibilities
Programme Convenor for MSc Ethnobotany and MA, MSc Environmental Anthropology; Director of the Centre for Biocultural Diversity (CBCD)
Trained as an ecological anthropologist and ethnobiologist, over the past 25 years I have been studying the historical ecology of a rainforest valley in Indonesian Borneo, documenting the ethnobiological knowledge of Penan Benalui hunter-gatherers and Kenyah swidden agriculturalists, elucidating the causes and consequences of trade in wild animals and plants, and developing theory and methods for an applied conservation anthropology.
I have served as an ethnobiology consultant to a CIFOR project examining Multipurpose Landscape Assessment, worked in northern Vietnam (2001) for Flora and Fauna International, and collaborated on Global Diversity Foundation research and training projects in Morocco (Wildlife trade in Southern Morocco), Namibia (Kalahari Garden Project), and Sabah, Malaysia (Ethnobiology of proposed traditional use zones in Crocker Range Park, Participatory approaches to nominating Crocker Range Biosphere Reserve).
More recently, my Phd students and I are working on local adaptation to climatic variability (El Nino) and climate change in Borneo, and elsewhere. I was a co-investigator on the ESPA funded project Human Adaptation to Biodiversity Change, 2010-2012, which took me to the Western Ghats of India for field research in 2011. This work has drawn me into research on invasive species, and other ways changes in biodiversity due to climate change threaten biocultural diversity and local livelihoods. I am now thinking about how anthropologists can contribute to climate change science, and specifically developing mixed methods for studying local responses to environmental change. Toward this end, I am now studying responses to complex transformations in rural landscapes in Europe (iberian cork oak landscapes and Kent agriculture).back to top
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
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I teach on the following modules:
- SE802: Research Methods in Social Anthropology
- SE807: Contemporary Ethnography in Environmental Anthropology
- SE831: Environmental Anthropology
- SE832: Ethnobiological Knowledge Systems
- SE845: Practical Methods in Conservation Social Science
I teach on the following modules
- SE306: Animals, People and Plants: An introduction to Ethnobiology
- SE308: Skills for Anthropology and Conservation
- SE542: Human Ecology
- SE594: Anthropology and Development
- 50 years, 50 stories: The dynamics of farms and farming in UKC’s backyard, 1965-2015
- Human Adaptation to Biodiversity Change: Building and Testing Concepts, Methods, and Tools for Understanding and Supporting Autonomous Adaptation
- Local Knowledge, Science and the Environment: how and why people respond to climate change
- The dynamics of biocultural diversity in the cork oak woodlands of the Iberian Peninsula
- Traditional Knowledge and Water Management Practices
- Biocultural Diversity in the Rainforests of Central Borneo
- Interactive Methods for Ethnographic Research on Ecological Knowledge: rattan and basketry knowledge in East Kalimantan (Illustrative slide show)
- Substantiating the economic value of Plant biodiversity to the Pharmaceutical Industry (JNCC 2009)
Current PhD Students:
- Clive Dennis - How do the Banawá perceive and respond to environmental change?
- Kay Evelina Lewis-Jones - Banking on Biodiversity and what it means to conserve a wild seed in the Anthropocene: perceptions of threat and value in a conservation network.
- Craig Ritchie - Natural Resource Management Practices and Cultural Change within Indigenous Communities of the Curanja and Purús Rivers in Alto Purús, Peru: Implications for Biodiversity (Peru).
Past PhD Students:
- Nejm Benessaiah – Sustainable livelihoods and contested futures: How do Algerian date palm farmers adapt to disruptive socio-ecological change (Algeria)?
- Ugo D’Ambrosio – Ngabe explanations of Agroculinary transitions in southern Conte-Burica (Costa Rica).
- Saskia Dijk - The cultural aspects of human-nonhuman primate relationships, in the Goalpara District in Assam (India).
- Zerihun Doda Doffana - "Dagucho [P. falcatus] is Abbo!" Sacred Groves of Wonsho-Sidama, Ethiopia: Their Maintenance Motives, Consequences and Conservation Threats.
- Gotzone Garay - Come rain, water us this year: Kenyah Badeng forecasting knowledge, perceptions and responses to climatic variability in the interior of Sarawak (Malaysia).
- Oana Ivan - Cultural change in a traditional fishing village in the Danube Delta: the consequences of environmental protection and tourism (Romania).
- Jonathon Loh - Measuring and monitoring status and trends in global biocultural diversity.
- Viola Schreer - The ‘social life’ of rattan in Katingan, Indonesia: Investigating rattan knowledge in the context of socio-economic and environmental dynamics.
Director, Centre for Biocultural Diversity.
Affiliate partner on the MEDPLANT ITN.
I coordinated the Erasmus Intensive Programme, Biocultural Diversity of local people and migrants in 'Europe: Concepts and Interdisciplinary Methods' for a consortium of 10 universities in Europe (2009-2011). The consortium now consists of 13 universities, and plans are in the works for more training courses in the future. In the meantime, I teach on the Global Environments Summer Academy (GESA) at the Rachel Carson Centre in Munich.
In September 2010, I convened a seminar 'New Directions in Urgent Anthropology' that brought together past and present fellows of the RAI's Urgent Anthropology Fellowship to discuss their work, its impacts, and future needs and directions. Videos of some of the presentations are available on the RAI website. An edited volume of the papers presented at the seminar is in preparation.
RAI Council member
American Friends of the RAI, Trustee
Borneo Research Council, Board of Trustees
Advances in Research: Environment and Society (Berghahn Books), Editorial Collective
Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology Series (Berghahn Books), Kent editorial committeeback to top