Veterinary Geography as Interdisciplinary Research (*)

By Davis, Diana K. | The Geographical Review, January-April 2001 | Go to article overview

Veterinary Geography as Interdisciplinary Research (*)


Davis, Diana K., The Geographical Review


**********

When I worked on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in the early 1990s as part of the Basic Veterinary Worker (BVW) Project, nearly everyone I met, from U.N. and NGO workers to journalists, was obsessed with "getting inside" Afghanistan. The expatriate community hardly talked about anything else. In much the same spirit, graduate students in geography voice eagerness to "get inside" the "field." Certainly I did. Yet adequate preparation for geographical field research is crucial. Taking extra time at the start of doctoral work to develop specific skills, instead of rushing headlong and headstrong to the field, makes substantive interdisciplinary research possible. The incorporation of interdisciplinary training into preparations for field research provides unique benefits. These include the potential to pose new research questions, to develop new or different methods for exploring existing research questions, and to adapt novel modes of analysis and interpretation to research findings. The geographical subfields of political and cultural ecology have produced successful scholars who are increasingly conducting just this kind of research.

Tackling interdisciplinary research can, however, be difficult, time consuming, and professionally risky. Because the results of high-quality interdisciplinary research in geography are rewarding, in this essay I outline some hard-won suggestions for the preparation and execution of interdisciplinary field research. I use, as case in point, my work on the political ecology of pastoralism, an example that includes methods drawn from veterinary medicine. Having recently completed an interdisciplinary doctoral dissertation, I address finishing strategies that may be helpful to doctoral students and young scholars. Each of you who reads this, though, will likely have a different skill set and your own distinct possibilities.

VETERINARY GEOGRAPHY?

Formal interdisciplinarity is something I stumbled on more or less by accident. After attempting fieldwork in Morocco at the master's level, I naively thought I could be of more help to pastoralists if I were a veterinarian. I didn't fully understand at the time that most problems faced by pastoralists and their livestock were caused by underlying structural problems of poverty and state oppression rather than by livestock disease. Thus, after finishing my master's degree in geography I concluded that because I wanted to work with pastoralists for my dissertation research in geography, I would earn a doctorate in veterinary medicine. I thought veterinary skills would enable me to "give something back" to the pastoralists with whom I hoped to work and allow me to collaborate more closely with pastoral people and thereby gain a better understanding of their lives and work. Of course, the subsequent four years were challenging and exhausting in ways I had previously only imagined, but the learning experience was the best I could have had. As a result, I have been able to actively incorporate veterinary training, research, and work experiences into my doctoral and postdoctoral geographical research.

Halfway through veterinary training, I had the opportunity to work with the BVW project on the Afghan border with Pakistan (Figure 1). The international section of my veterinary school at Tufts University coordinated this multiagency project to train Afghan herders, many of them nomads, in basic veterinary skills. Nearly all veterinary and human medical services had been destroyed in the war. My primary job was to interview male and female nomads to determine whether women, too, could be trained as BVW workers in Afghanistan's Islamic society. As I started to carry out this survey, it quickly became apparent that the nomads had substantial knowledge about the health and diseases of livestock and how to care for them with many products found in their local environment. I put on my geographer's hat and expanded the study to include ethnoveterinary medicine (indigenous veterinary knowledge and practice), which covered basic resource management and herding knowledge and practice. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Veterinary Geography as Interdisciplinary Research (*)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.