Brendan A. Galipeau is a socio-cultural anthropologist whose research interests and publications focus on environment, economy, and history in Tibetan Southwest China. His past publications and research have focused on hydropower development, agricultural practices, and non-timber forest products in Southwest China. While at Rice, he is currently at work on a book manuscript under contract with the University of Washington Press based upon his doctoral dissertation, tentatively titled Crafting a Tibetan Terroir: Wine Production, Identity, and Landscape Change in Shangri-La, China. This work explores economic and ecological representations of ethnicity and identity formation as they relate to agricultural change and commodification of wine and grape production among Tibetans in Northwest Yunnan Province in Southwest China. The book provides an inquiry into the ways that a strategic deployment of the French notion of terroir or “taste of place,” can work to create and formulate new forms of ethno-regional identities and village landscapes among wine producers, built around their production of wine as a commodity from a certain marketed locale. Brendan asks how colonial histories and global capitalism can be re-established and reformulated through the production of “Tibetan” branded wine and beer in the crafting of a new global and unique wine region and industry? In this work he seeks to argue that in post-socialist and post semi-colonial locales, long standing historical patterns of global capitalism and exchange of stimulants and intoxicants, remain in continuous motion with colonial and other older transnational connections between Europe and the Sino-Tibetan borderlands being reestablished and reformulated through the production of wine and beer.
Building upon the work in his book manuscript, Brendan is also currently developing a new research project entitled Salmon in Shangri-La. This work continues an exploration into how the landscape and livelihoods of Shangri-La as a place in China are being reformulated around history and global capitalisms. The project will explore and analyze how small scale salmon and trout farms are being built around tourism promotion and associated with the ethnic imagery of Tibet. Being typically associated with locales in Europe, Northeast Asia (Japan), and North America, the idea of producing salmon in Tibet is an incredibly foreign idea, but one that fits within the framework of state and corporate exoticizing of this region of China and Tibet as locations of pristine and healthy items for touristic consumption. Drawing from work in science and technology studies focusing on the particular development of different forms of technical knowledge, this project will analyze the ways in which this new form of touristic food consumption/production is being conceived of, learned, and developed by small and medium scale salmon and trout farmers in Shangri-La, China.
Brendan's work has appeared in a variety of publications including Human Ecology, Himalaya: The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, and Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Trans-Himalayan Borderlands: Livelihoods, Territorialities, Modernities
Dan Smyer Yü and Jean Michaud (editors)