Serendipity & Illusion Of The Twisted Trajectories

Serendipity & Illusion Of The Twisted Trajectories

e had a chance to sit down with Professor Courtney Work, an American professor, the faculty member of Department of Ethnology at College of Social Science, to talk about her work, her life in Taiwan, and her years in Cambodia. Through many years, she devoted her time to the practice of her profession to researching about Anthropology.

CSS: What is your past research interest?

Professor Work: Most of my work is in Cambodia, and the research for my dissertation was at the edge of the forest and the base of the Aural mountains in western Cambodia. The research focused on the interactions between new settlers and religions, development initiatives and the environment.

CSS: We are wondering. How have you come to Taiwan? You originated from the U.S. You did research in Cambodia. And now, you are in Taiwan.

Professor Work: Because of the indigenous cultures are not different, they are almost the same about indigenous in Taiwan and in Cambodia. Not many studies about effect of China, especially Ancient China, on cultures of Southeast Asia China are studied. I am really excited to be here to bring some of that into my work in Cambodia in the sameness of the indigenous communities and on examine the influences from China.

CSS: What course do you teach at NCCU?

Professor Work: I am doing graduated courses. This semester, I am teaching Introduction to Ethnographic Theory. Next semester, I will teach Introduction to Ethnographic Method, also offering Forest and Green Development course and Area Study course looking at Monsoon Asia. In the Forest and Green development, the class will focus attention on the particular ideology of people who live in the forest for generations. The Monsoon area study will be a pioneer project to examine an ecological culture zone of those who live across mountain. They are brand new courses. We have many foreigner scholars at NCCU. They will be guest speakers. They will be very innovative and experimental classes.

CSS: Do you plan to conduct research about that?

Professor Work: I do. My next research project will be looking at the conservation and development in the indigenous community in the largest contiguous low land remaining in Southeast Asia and the U.S. idea landscape conservation project.

CSS: How do you feel about NCCU?

Professor Work: I am very happy. The people are excellent. The students are so smart and engage. The professors are also engage, open, deep thinking, and humility.

CSS: Where have you visited in Taiwan so far?

Professor Work: I visited Yehliu Geopark in northern Taiwan.  It is such an energetic place.  Some contradiction, the island itself is quite literally alive.

CSS: What is you impression about Taiwan?

Professor Work: I have much impression toward transformation and toward changes of Taiwan. People are remarkably openness for speech and progressive. The interesting thing about living in Taiwan is the indigenous cultures. The relationship has room and negotiation for respect and making a space with the indigenous people.

CSS: What is you favorite thing at NCCU?

Professor Work: The mountain! I walk out my door. And I am heading to the waterfall. It is just right there. And the birds!, so many birds. They are just right here on campus, just outside my window.

CSS: Thank you and welcome to NCCU, Professor Work.

November 8, 2018

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Pannavij Tamtai

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