Australasian Animal Studies Association

Stapp-Gaunt, Andraya

PhD Student

University of Canberra
Research interests / activities

I am a Maori-Dutch Ph.D. student writing about human and nonhuman connectedness. My PhD is practice-led research in creative writing with an exegesis as an example of 'symethnography' (ethnography made with nonhumans) and a novel 'Rabbit Island' as an example of 'compost writing' (Haraway, 2019) and a 'sym story' (Haraway 2016). I use methodologies of 'connectedness' from Indigenous epistemology (Yunkaporta, 2019) and Western feminist multispecies theory (Haraway, 2016) to explore how writing may occur with rabbits; by doing this, I demonstrate to other creative writers how writing may be made with nonhumans in a way that is respectful and aims to decentre the human. My creative work occurs in the presence of rabbit companion species who are able to engage with my writing process, writing materials, and resources. I attend closely to our rabbit-human intra-actions and value the ways that my companion rabbits reconfigure my writing research imaginatively and materially. Because I am in a web of relations with rabbits as kin, inevitably my research crosses other fields including science, philosophy, animal studies, and anthropology. In the field, I explore rabbit-human relationships at three sites: Hobart, Australia; Whareponga, Aotearoa New Zealand, and Okunohsima, Japan. My creative work acts as a 'kawe mate' – a Maori funerary ritual of remembrance for European rabbits.