Monday, April 21, 2014

Faces of Ethnobiology: Emilie Cremin


My name is Emilie CREMIN, I’m a PhD candidate in geography in Paris 8 University Saint-Denis, research associate in the Center for Himalayan Studies (CEH - CNRS) and I’m presently teaching human and environmental geography at Strasbourg University.

I grew up in the suburbs of Paris, in a green neighborhood next to the Montmorency forest, on the fringe of the large urbanized area surrounding our capital. My parents came from Poland and moved to France in the70’s. Since my childhood, I have felt very concerned by environmental issues such as air, water and soil pollution, as well as the reduction of biodiversity due to industrial agriculture practices. So I decided to study geography at Paris University in order to improve my knowledge on those topics and to find a way to get involved in land management. I was particularly interested to know more about rural societies in India. So I also studied Hindi and Bengali at the Institute of oriental language studies.

During my masters, I firstly worked on the impact and perceptions of dam constructions on the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh, central India in 2005. Then I worked on local development projects in Bolivia in 2006.

After a Master’s degree in ethnobiology and eco-anthropology at the Natural History Museum of Paris in 2007, I joined the Himalayan Research Centre of the CNRS as a PhD student. Since that time, I’m participating to a program focused on North-east India. In that project, my PhD focuses on local adaptation strategies handled by rural communities that are facing natural hazards such as floods and erosion in the Brahmaputra flood plain. I came back to India again in 2007 to study the interactions between the river Brahmaputra and the people which live on its bank. I was particularly interested to understand how people managed to adjust with flooding and erosion which are frequently creating breaches in the embankments and damaging land and villages. I focused on paddy cultivation and on fishing practices. Ethnobiology is one of my interests, as I have conducted a survey about rice varieties used by tribes of the flood plain to cope with natural hazards.

During the 14th Congress of Ethnobiology, my colleague and I will present a paper on “Peasant’s ecological knowledge to adjust with floods and erosion in the Brahmaputra and Koshi river basin”.

At the last congress in 2012, I presented a paper on “Hydro-climatic variability, agro-ecosystem diversity and rice varieties used by the Missing tribes in the Brahmaputra flood plain (Assam-North-East India)” in the 16th Session: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Global Environmental Change: North and South perspectives.
I’m particularly interested in participating in the pre-congress workshop, as I hope to exchange research methodologies and share fieldwork experiences with many other research fellows, from different countries, backgrounds, ages and genders. I hope to learn about indigenous research approaches, ecological governance, social, spatial and economic justice, ethnobiology issues in Bhutan and maybe creates new and innovative research projects.

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