About My Research
My research explores how people's interactions with wildlife relate to their beliefs about the legitimacy of conservation. For my fieldwork, I am comparing the experiences of people living in the buffer zones of Melghat and Tadoba-Andhari tiger reserves in central India. While both are largely governed by the same conservation institutions, the frequency with which people encounter large predators like tigers, leopards, and sloth bears is much higher near Tadoba than near Melghat. By understanding how interactions with wildlife relate to people's beliefs about accepting and obeying conservation institutions (that is, beliefs about legitimacy), I hope to draw on multispecies ethnography as a way to advance scholarship on moral economies. To address my research objectives, I am using participant observation, Q Methodology, geographic information systems, and semantic network analysis. Through several partnerships with Indian organizations, I also hope that this research will help to promote human-wildlife coexistence and enhance the legitimacy of conservation practice.
I was born in Bellingham, WA and moved to Northfield, MN to attend Carleton College. In between struggling with ancient Greek, playing broomball, cooking, and knitting, I discovered sociology and anthropology. I also traveled to India for the first time and ended up in what would become my field site, Melghat Tiger Reserve. There, I became fascinated with issues of conservation, governance, and legitimacy, and returned to Melghat Tiger Reserve to complete research for my undergraduate honors thesis. After a year of service as an AmeriCorps volunteer working with under-served and mostly undocumented students at a local high school, I enrolled at The University of Georgia to continue my research in India. Now a PhD Candidate nearing the end of my fieldwork, I look forward to graduating and finding new avenues, either in academia or beyond, to further pursue my interests in human-wildlife interactions and legitimacy, while also leaving a little time for more cooking and knitting.
PhD Expected 2019, Anthropology
Graduate Certificate, Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development
The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
B.A. Sociology and Anthropology 2012, magna cum laude
Certificate of Advanced Study, Ancient Greek
Carleton College, Northfield, MN
My broader research interests include environmental governance, political ecology, ecology of fear, conservation and development, and large carnivore conservation.
2015, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship ($102,000)
2014, Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship ($7,200)
2013, Segal AmeriCorps Education Award ($5,500)
2011, Class of 1963 Independent Research Fellowship, Carleton College ($4,000)
Read, Daniel J. (2016) Legitimacy, Access, and the Gridlock of Tiger Conservation: Lessons from Melghat and the History of Central India. Theme issue, “A Landscape Approach to Conservation and Development in the Central Indian Highlands,” Regional Environmental Change 16(S1):S141-151. doi: 10.1007/s10113015-0780-7