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Home > Staff members > Associate members and guest researchers


- PhD student in anthropology (EHESS-ULiège) and student of Nepali (Inalco)
- Social anthropologist (UCLouvain)
- Qualified psychomotor therapist (Médecine Sorbonne Université)

Contact :

Keywords : Nepal, Bardiya National Park, Karnali, multispecies ethnography, invisible

PhD supervisors : Marie Lecomte-Tilouine (EHESS, CNRS, LAS) and Véronique Servais (ULiège, LASC).

Current research :

Nolwen Vouiller’s thesis, which she began in September 2020, is based on an initial three-month anthropological study she carried out in Nepal in 2019, with some thirty interlocutors of various ethnicities, castes and origins (Tharus, Brahmins, Chhetris, Untouchables, tourists or foreign inhabitants) who frequent the Hattisar area on the edge of Bardiya National Park. With practically 1,000 km2 of grassy meadows, forests and rivers (Karnali river system), this park is home to invaluable species that are now protected – but still endangered – and can be dangerous: one-horned rhinoceros, Asian elephant, common leopard, Bengal tiger, gharial and other animals.

On the edge of this forest, in an organised space called “buffer zone”, a group of villagers (farmers, guides, mahouts, children, soldiers...) live in the company of domestic animals (buffaloes, goats, pigs, chickens, dogs, domestic elephants...). Despite the measures taken by the government to separate the forest and its animals from the villagers (controls, barriers, public awareness campaigns...), the number of encounters – sometimes deadly – called Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC), are on the increase.

Whereas preliminary research for her Master’s focused on a small area – called banbhoj sthal (forest picnic area) – and in particular on issues concerning a river that runs through it – the Khauraha (meander of the Karnali) – and revealed the great ambivalence of this river (which separates yet connects, is dangerous yet vital, etc.) and a ’contact zone’ (Haraway, 2008) that is at the same time cross-cultural, intergenerational, multispecies and ritualistic, her current fieldwork for her PhD is conducted in the buffer zone mainly around BNP, in places where most of the attacks take place.

Her thesis addresses the adaptations and representations of humans who live in close proximity to these animals, the way they make sense of these encounters and how they recover from them. The methodological approach is based on interviews and direct observations of encounters (in the different forests and villages), data collection is mainly of a "sensorial" type (sound, photographic and video recordings, drawings, etc.) and linguistic work is carried out to clearly identify the terms people use in Nepali to express their feelings.
Fieldwork : southwestern Nepal, Tarai

Podcasts - fieldwork in 2019 during master’s degree
— Episode 1 :
— Episode 2 :
— Episode 3 :

Main papers :
— 12/05/2022 : "Quels soins psychomoteurs pour des victimes d’attaques d’animaux sauvages ? Réflexions d’une psychomotricienne-anthropologue au Népal", Association Psychomotricité et Psychotraumatisme (APP, Paris).
— 13-14/04/2022 : "People, animals and escalating tensions: the case of Bardiya National Park (BNP)", 19th Nepal Study Days, Britain-Nepal Academic Council (BNAC), Institut of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford (Oxford, England).
— 29-30/03/2022 : " Participation émotionnelle : l’hypersensibilité au service du savoir", Journées d’Etude "Pratiques Sensibles. De l’enquête à la restitution", Université de Liège (ULiège, Liège).
— 16/12/2021 : "De l’étude d’un lieu précis à celle de ressentis : les relations humains-animaux de la Bufferzone du Parc de Bardiya", Réseau Chercheurs Népal, Institut National des Langues et Civilisation Orientales (Inalco, Paris).
— 10-11/06/2021 : "Un projet d’exposition représentatif d’un terrain d’étude : multi-sensoriel, multi-espèces et interdisciplinaire", "Mon projet en quinze minutes", 2ème édition du Salon des Ecritures Alternatives en Sciences Sociales (SEAS, Mucem, Marseille).
— 03/06/2021. "En quoi ethnographier le bras d’une rivière peut-il faire réfléchir sur les crises spatiales entre humains et animaux ? Le cas de la Khauraha du Parc National de Bardia (Népal)", Journée d’études Doctorales Crises et Espaces du laboratoire Territoires, Villes, Environnement & Société de l’Université de Lille et de l’Université du Littoral Côte d’Opâle (TVES, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France).
— 20/05/2021. "Partir dans l’extrême ouest du Népal en temps de pandémie : un premier terrain de thèse, entre doutes et détermination", Atelier des Doctorants du LAS (ADDDL, Paris, France).
— 24-26/02/2021. "En quoi ethnographier l’emplacement d’une rivière peut-il faire réfléchir sur les intrications de territoires humains et non-humains ? Le cas de la Khauraha du Parc National de Bardia (Népal)", Doctorales de l’Association de Science Régionale de Langue Française (ASRDLF, Poitiers, France).
— 18/01/2021. "Entre non-humains et villageois, la rivière Khauraha (Népal)", association Rés-EAUx (Paris Nanterre).
— 13/01/2021. "Etude des interactions entre humains et non-humains auprès de la rivière Khauraha, dans la banbhoj sthal de la Bufferzone du Parc National de Bardia (Népal)", Centre d’études himalayennes (CEH, Paris).
— 17/12/2020. "Vers un protocole sémiochimique pour les HWC de Bardia (Népal) ?", Institut de Recherche en Sémiochimie et Ethologie Appliquée (IRSEA, France).

Publications :
— 2022. "Une rivière et sa rive pour étudier les enjeux d’une crise entre animaux et humains : le cas des ’’Human-Widlife Conflict’’ du Parc National de Bardiya (BNP, Népal)" in Riséo : Risques, Études Et Observations, CERDACC, Université de Lille, France, pp. 9-18.
— 2022. "Being a naturalist guide in Bardiya, Nepal: A profession in the in-between" in Studies in Nepali History and Society (SINHAS), vol. 26 no.2, Kathmandu, Nepal, pp. 253-273.
— 2021. "La rivière ‘Khauraha’, médiatrice entre non-humains et villageois (Népal)" dans Carnets de terrain, Rés-EAUx.

Associate member of :
— Management committee of Réseau Chercheurs Népal (RCN), which brings together researchers working on Nepal and NGOs active in the country, and organises workshops to that effect.
— Bureau du Rés-EAUx de Paris-Nanterre which brings together social science researchers on water issues.
— Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale (LAS, Paris), membre of the teams "Anthropology of life" and "human/animal relation : contemporary questions".
— Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale et Culturelle (LASC, Liège), contribution to the research axis "Anthropologie de la nature et des animaux".

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