We are looking for a post-doctoral social anthropologist (or someone holding a PhD in a closely- related discipline) to join a Wellcome Trust-funded project titled,‘”From Feed the Birds” to “Do Not Feed the Animals”.’ The University of Roehampton is part of this multi-institution (University of Exeter, University of Reading, National Museums of Scotland) and multi-disciplinary project (zooarchaeology, social anthropology, osteology, anatomy, solid-state isotopes, rural policy, animal welfare). A fundamental aim is to explore non-utilitarian feeding of animals - particularly garden birds and domestic/wild/feral cats - from a range of perspectives, including: wildness/domestication/ferality/hybridity; historical processes; socio-cultural practices; animal health and welfare. Roehampton will be responsible for key anthropological perspectives of the overall project.
The focus of the PDRA project at Roehampton will be on the human dimensions of the feeding of cats and of feeding by cats along a multi-faceted continuum of the conditions of domestic, wild, and feral. In terms of domestic cats, the project will explore the changing nature of feeding regimes from when they were fed scraps of human food, but were also expected to catch and eat the vermin that bothered humans, to the pampered regimes of today. The project will have a strong anthropological ethnographic focus, for example engaging with cat owners, cat-food manufactures, veterinarians, and cat welfare organisations. However, the research will also engage with historical material relating to cats and domestication, for example cat-keeping manuals, and on through to an analysis of the changing nature of cat food advertising in print, television, and modern internet sites.
The ideal candidate will be a person with experience of ethnographic research. We are particularly interested in recruiting someone who will actively co-create this part of the project with Professor Garry Marvin (one of the CoIs). A fundamental aspect of this post is actively engaging with the varied perspectives of the other researchers, PDRAs, and PhD students who make up the overall research team.
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