Brendan A. Galipeau
Regions: Southwest China, Mainland Southeast Asia
Research Areas: Environment, Economy, Landscape, Agriculture, Food, Water Resources, Hydropower Resettlement, Catholic Missionaries in China and Tibet
As an environmental anthropologist focused on agriculture, food, and development practices, my work is guided by two questions which I see as carrying both scholarly and applied practical significance:
What are the roles of culture broadly speaking (religion, ethnicity, identity, history, etc.) in shaping people’s interactions with their surrounding natural environments and ecology, in particular through agriculture? How do individuals and communities balance the need for economic development with environmental protection and cultural preservation? Are these two things mutually exclusive?
My previous research has primarily focused on the Tibetan regions of Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, though I have also taken part in projects involving dams and water resources management and policy in North America, and between India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. I also maintain active research and teaching interests in mainland Southeast Asia with its proximity to Yunnan. I have been engaged in research among rural Tibetan and other minority ethnic communities in Southwest China for the past fourteen years since first traveling to the region as an undergraduate for a field studies program in 2007. Since that time, I have returned annually in a variety of capacities, first working for an NGO in community tourism development work, and then both for master’s and doctoral research, first on the agricultural impacts of hydropower resettlement and more recently for my current book project in the final stage of completion exploring the development of a Tibetan region as a new area for global wine production. This book specifically explores the ways in which landscape transformation surrounding the state introduction of viticulture and global capitalism have led to changes in local ethnic identity and human-environmental relationships. Recently, I have begun new comparative research on indigenous salmon conservation and climate change in Taiwan and small-scale commercial salmon farming in Southwest China.