For immediate release
January 31, 2013
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Monkeys, Mangos and Modernization:
Village-Centered Conservation in Rural Ghana
In the latest installment of the Clark College Faculty Speaker
Series, an anthropology professor shows it takes a village—
or two—to save threatened primates.
VANCOUVER, Wash. – Nestled in central agrarian Ghana lie two very special villages, Boabeng and Fiema, where humans and monkeys live in unique interdependence. While monkeys are hunted as food or nuisances in many parts of the world, here villagers treat them as spiritual allies. Protected by myth and ritual, the surrounding forest’s monkeys wander fearlessly through the villages—entering homes, foraging in storehouses, and even helping themselves to treats from household cookfires. This special relationship has turned Boabeng and Fiema into ecotourism hotspots, which has in turn led to new challenges for both human and monkey residents of the area.
On Tuesday, February 19, Clark College anthropology professor Dr. Rob Schubert shares his fascinating insights into the Boabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary (BFMS) during the winter quarter presentation of Clark College’s renowned Faculty Speaker Series.
A Lowe’s Guenon monkey enjoys the serenity of the
Boabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary.
Photo credit: Dr. Rob Schubert
(High resolution photo available upon request.)
Dr. Schubert spent 10 months in the BFMS completing his dissertation research. Through folklore and images taken during his fieldwork, Dr. Schubert will describe the rich ethnographic history of the site; the complex cultural interdependence of forest, monkeys and villagers; and the historical challenges that threaten the sanctuary’s long-term success. “BFMS illustrates how conservation projects benefit by integrating the needs and cultural uniqueness of local human communities into efforts to control and preserve natural ecosystems,” says Dr. Schubert.
Watch this video to hear Dr. Schubert discuss his research.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the Ellis Dunn Community Room (Gaiser Hall room 213) on Clark’s main campus. Clark College is located at 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver. Driving directions and parking maps are available at www.clark.edu/maps.
Individuals who need accommodation due to a disability in order to fully participate in this event should contact Clark College’s Disability Support Services (DSS) Office at (360) 992-2314 or (360) 991-0901 (VP) two weeks prior to the event. The DSS office is located in room 137 in Clark’s Gaiser Hall.
About Dr. Rob Schubert
Dr. Rob Schubert has served as department chair of the Clark College Anthropology Department since 2011 when he moved with his family to Vancouver from the Midwest. He received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois, and earned a master’s and doctorate at The Ohio State University. He has taught college-level anthropology and sociology courses for nearly a decade.
Dr. Schubert’s research interests include the evolution, ecology, social behavior and conservation of living primates. Key to those studies has been his emphasis on their anatomy, locomotion and forest utilization. His research has spanned the globe with studies of wild primates in Japan and throughout Central America. In 2009, Dr. Schubert conducted his dissertation field research in Ghana, West Africa, the topic of the day’s presentation.
In his teaching, Dr. Schubert says he strives to blend his passion for science education, his love of primates and his fascination with human diversity to help students better understand and respect the diversity of life on the planet. “More than anything, I hope that future generations have the opportunity to experience the diverse natural ecosystems and the rich tapestry of human cultures disappearing far too quickly today,” he says.
About the Clark College Faculty Speaker Series
Established by Clark College with support from the Clark College Foundation, the Clark College Faculty Speaker Series honors individual faculty members and celebrates academic excellence. The series showcases recent experiences that have enriched both the life and teaching of a Clark faculty member. Faculty members share their developmental experiences with the college community—and with members of the community at large—while addressing some of today’s most intriguing issues. Visit http://www.clark.edu/news_center/events/facultyspeakerseries.php for more information about this and upcoming Faculty Speaker Series presentations.