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L. Jen Shaffer
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Green Chicken Diaries: Jen's Anthro Annex

Profile Information

Maputo, Mozambique (currently)
About Me:
When I was really little I wanted to be a hermit (so I could read every book), then a pirate (so I could own my own tropical island and build a library just for me), then a paleontologist ('cause dinosaurs were cool). By the time I got out of high school, I'd decided to study marine ecology. I actually worked in this field, mainly counting hairs on the butts of copepods, fishing for baby lobsters, and measuring bryozoan sizes. I switched to estuarine ecology (environmental studies) for my masters to get away from the microscope, and work with really big stuff like landscapes. I taught HS for a while, then backpacked around the world for a year.
Now, I am a doctoral candidate in ecological anthropology at the University of Georgia. Currently, I am in the field in southern Mozambique working on my dissertation researching connections between landscape and culture in 2 Ronga communities at the Maputo Elephant Reserve. The two objectives of my research are to: (1) analyze the importance of social and ecological factors in directing the spatial and temporal patch choice and use of Rongan harvesters, and (2) investigate the specific effects of Ronga plant harvest on vegetation diversity, abundance, and distribution. My research, in one anonymous reviewer's words, "is not flashy or very exciting but it may be a useful contribution, and it has a practical side as well." I really liked that. Seriously.
Area(s) of Training
applied anthropology, cultural anthropology, ethnography, other
Area(s) of Expertise
ecological anthropology, landscape and culture, ethnobotany, historical ecology, environmental education
Most Recent Degree
Current Area of Employment
doctoral candidate in the field

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L. Jen Shaffer's Blog

My Other Blog

If anyone finds this page and would like to know more about me and my research, I would suggest visiting my Blog at:

Green Chicken Diaries: An Anthropologist's Adventures in Mozambique

I can't keep up more than one blog. :-( I am too busy chasing down informants in the field. ;-) …


Posted on May 7, 2007 at 8:26am

Comment Wall (7 comments)

At 10:18pm on May 7, 2007, Jed Stevenson said…
Hello Jen! Nice to hear from you. I'm still in ATL, but heading to Ethiopia mid-June. Those objectives in your sidebar look familiar... :) I will look forward to hearing what you find out about Rongan harvesters' patch choices, and their effect on the vegetation! How is the project going?
PS -- I will become less gray once this semester is over.
At 8:51am on May 8, 2007, James R. Veteto said…
Hi Jen, good to hear from you. Things have run their usual course here in Athens as everybody is burnt out at the end of the semester. I've read your blog a few times this semester and it seems like your up to great things. In early June I'm off to Sonora, Mexico to check out a community of people from southern Appalachia who migrated in the 19th century. A botanist I am working with thinks they are still growing out Appalachian cultivars in their gardens. This SFAA network is kind of cool and inventive. Best, Jim
At 12:04pm on May 8, 2007, Hugh Sheridan Plunkett said…
Hi - Your work looks interesting. Thought I might be doing a short consultancy in Mozambique this year, on a malaria project, but it's either still pending, or gone. Too bad -- I have been in South Africa and Madagascar, but not Mozambique... AK47 and baby, too. That's pretty much the norm for a lot of places, I think. Most people in the USA have NO idea of what it is like to live without a government, or security, and just look at us oddly when we try to describe it. Ref. your work: are you familiar with Gordon Conway's work, esp. "Agroecosystem Analysis"? I found it very helpful over the years. Saludos, Sher Plunkett
At 9:46am on May 9, 2007, Lisa Hiwasaki said…
Hi, I enjoyed your blog entry "do you have children"? Believe me, this question always popped up during my fieldwork in Southeast Asia as well. It used to frustrate the hell out of me, too (yes I had to bear the same old scorn & pity).

The situation is a lot worse in Japan, the country where I used to work in before coming to France. The Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare receved attention in the press recently, when he mentioned that "women are child-bearing machines". I am surprised to hear that in your opinion, the situation in the US does not seem to be that great.

At 10:59pm on May 9, 2007, Jed Stevenson said…
Jen -- Checked out your blog. It's cool. How do you go about starting up one of those things?
At 10:42pm on May 10, 2007, Jed Stevenson said…
Thanks for the advice, Jen.
The heron I found on my uncle's hard-drive. Not sure where it was taken. I don't have a photo of myself to hand, and the bird is in any case more pleasant on the eyes.
At 4:22am on August 17, 2007, Alyne E. Delaney said…
Hi Jen! Where are you these days?!? Hope all is well. I tried to put together a project in the Limpopo Basin so I could be cool like you and work in Mozambique, too, but alas, couldn't get the people together in time for the deadline.

Just returned from 3 glorious weeks Stateside and am now trying to unbury my inbox from too many mail messages. Once that's done I can finally think about research and writing again.

I have a friend who's just started in Georgia- David Meeks- if you go back while he's there say hi for me!

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