Nastasia Paul-Gera Receives Chester Fritz International Research and Study Fellowship 

Submitted by Whitney Miller on

The Chester Fritz International Research and Study Fellowship provides grants to support UW graduate students doing research outside of the United States. GWSS graduate student, Nastasia Paul-Gera, recently won the award and intends to use the funds to pursue ethnographic fieldwork on the politics of wildlife tourism in Satpura National Park in Madhya Pradesh, India. Her research will engage a range of fields including feminist studies, multispecies studies, science studies, and political economy, and build on her historical research on this region, which surfaced the histories of the Gond kingdom of Garha through an exploration of human-nonhuman relations.

The historical component of her research demonstrates that the gendering and sexualization of elephants produced a demand for male elephants for warfare in early modern South Asia, and that elephants’ reproduction patterns made it necessary to secure them from forests. It also shows how Gond rulers used their community’s knowledges of elephants to assert political sovereignty from the Mughal empire. Bringing this history to bear upon contemporary social relations, that have attended the establishment of Satpura National Park in the former Gond Kingdom of Garha, Nastasia’s fieldwork will explore: How is the wild produced for consumption in Satpura? How are gender and sexuality integral to the production of the wild, and how does this shape gender and sexuality in turn?