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Ilanah Taves BA MA

Ilanah Taves BA MA

PhD Candidate

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Urban geographer with research interests in more-than-human geographies, animal studies, posthumanism, urban planning, and municipal wildlife policy

Biography

Career

  • 2018 - Present: PhD in Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2017: Chicago Mayor's Office Fellow
  • 2016-2017: MA in Planning, Clark University
  • 2016-2017: New Earth Conversation, Project Assistant
  • 2015-2016: Clark University Geography Department, Assistant to Faculty
  • 2012-2016: BA Geography, Clark University

Qualifications

  • BA 2016 Clark University
  • MA 2017 Clark University

Research

While earning an undergraduate degree in geography and a master's in planning from Clark University, I examined themes in human geography and urban studies. Exploring critical discourse on cities galvanized my interest in relationships between nature and the urban form. This later materialized in a fascination with the human-wildlife interface in cities and how humans are responding to newly situated animals in urban regions. Eventually, I narrowed my focus to animal geographies and, more specifically, human responses to urban coyote populations in the United States. While remaining heavily on the human side of geography, I developing skills in physical geography, including Geographic Information Systems, during my time at Clark University.

Outside of academia, I developed a passion for municipal governance and policy during a fellowship with the Chicago Mayor's Office in 2017. This experience provided material for my master's thesis on the municipal challenges associated with urban coyote adaptation and urban wildlife policy more broadly. In collaboration with the city, I developed the Chicago Coyote Management and Coexistence Plan. I continue to work closely with the city of Chicago in devising strategies to effectively manage urban wildlife. I strive to balance theoretical academic developments with contemporary practices in urban planning and city politics when thinking critically about human-animal relationships in urban areas.

My dissertation at Cambridge is an extension of my previous work and will consider interactions between humans and coyotes in cities. I use coyotes as a tool to rethink urban-nature dualisms and reimagine the city as a site for human-animal experience. Furthermore, I investigate how coyotes become represented and the role of narratives and stories in shaping public perceptions of predatory species in cities.

My research is concerned with relationships between humans and wildlife in cities and the main concepts I engage are:

  • Animal geography – Interactions between humans and animals across space
  • Urban wildlife policy – the status of nonhumans in the contemporary city, specifically urban carnivores
  • Posthumanism and postanthropocentrism – critical examinations of relationships between humans and nonhumans in society

Fieldwork photo 2019

Publications

  • Howell, P., & Taves, I. (2019). The curious case of the Croydon cat-killer: producing predators in the multi-species metropolis. In D. Bissell (Ed.), Social and Cultural Geography
  • Taves, I. (2019). Wildlife Management and Coexistence Plan (City of Chicago, Department of Animal Care and Control). Chicago
  • Emel, J., & Taves, I. (2018). Animal Studies. In N. Castre, M. Hulme, & J. D. Proctor (Eds.), Companion to Environmental Studies (pp. 368-372). London & New York: Routledge.
  • Taves, I. (2017). Coyote Management and Coexistence Plan (City of Chicago, Department of Animal Care and Control). Chicago, IL.

Conference presentations and talks

  • 'Coyotes in the City: Municipal Approaches to Coexistence', Wildlife Society Winter Meeting, Wisconsin Rapids, February 2020
  • 'The Curious Case of the Croydon Cat Killer: Producing Predators in the Multi-Species Metropolis', AAG Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., April 2019
  • 'Urban Coyote Governance and Best Practices', presentation to New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, July 2018
  • 'Coyotes in the City: Contentions at the Human-Wildlife Interface and Productive Approaches to Coexistence' AAG Annual Meeting, New Orleans, April 2018

Teaching

  • Guest Lecturer on feminist epistemologies in geography for course offered by Professor Richard Peet (Department of Geography, Clark University), 2017

External activities

  • Member, American Association of Geography (2017-2019)