A Multispecies Journey of White sharks and Caged Humans
Iridescent Skin is the first of its kind multispecies ethnography on humans and white sharks, entangled through the practice of cage diving at the very end of New Zealand.It is based on an immersive field work of marine anthropologist Prof. Raj Sekhar Aich, and his friend, research assistant, and anthropologist—Soosan Lucas, as they go in search of the elusive and
mystified Great White Sharks of Foveaux Strait.
I am a professor in transdisciplinary research and psychology at Sister Nivedita University, Kolkata, India. Having two PhDs in marine anthropology, and applied psychology, long practice of art, knowledge assimilation and communication, my research is focused on creation of a transdisciplinary human-shark approach. To my knowledge, I am the first scientist to conduct white shark cage diving ethnography (New Zealand); Indian scientist to conduct White shark research; conduct multispecies ethnographic research with sharks; and the first to conduct scholarly investigation of Sundarbans shark attacks (India), and now arguing for a transdisciplinary approach in shark conservation, appreciation and human-shark conflict solutions.
Considering the concerns of shark conservation and the human- shark conflicts, my scholarly direction is to create a transdisciplinary human-shark lab in Europe. Such a platform aims to transcend the disciplinary, modality, and knowledge system boundaries to create holistic, inclusive environment of collaboration among multi-level human and shark stakeholders and knowledge creators for the common good.
My dear friend Bettina Wurche from Germany wrote a very interesting article about Megalodon. It was very kind of her to highlight my work here. But just to be sure, I DO NOT THINK MEGALODON EXISTS (Even if i wish they did). But huge White sharks larger than the ones we have seen can certainly do,
Thank you my friend for this great work.
Professor psychology, transdisciplinary research- SNU
Executive member, Research, Innovations & Extension committee
Human-shark conflict advisor- Sundarban Tiger widow welfare association
International officer- Marine social science network
Aich, R. S. & Weber, T. (2023). SHHRKS -Appell zur ganzheitlichen Erforschung der Hai-Mensch-Beziehung. Ozean: Tierstudien. Neofelis Verlag.
Aich, R. S. (2022). White Sharks and Caged Humans; an Ethnographic Exploration of Great White Shark Cage Diving in New Zealand. Niyogi Books, India, Delhi.
Aich, R. S., & Chakraborty, P. . (2022). Kamot: The first academic investigation of human-shark conflict in Sundarbans. TRACE ∴ Journal for Human-Animal Studies, 8.
Aich, R.S. (2021) The Kamot Ganga Puja: Sharks of Sundarban. Visual Ethnography, 10(1).
PHD- Anthropology, (2021).
PHD- Psychology (2013).
MA Applied psychology (2006)
BA Honors Psychology (2004)
Nomination for best non-fiction book for PVLF literature festival
University of Canterbury Alumina Association Grant
Featured researcher New Zealand Centre for Human-animal studies
2004 - 2006
MASTER'S DEGREE HRD, APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY.
Master’s degree in Human Resource Development-Applied Psychology- University of Calcutta, India.
2001 - 2004
BACHELOR'S DEGREE PSYCHOLOGY
Bachelor’s degree in Psychology (2004); (Honors) University of Calcutta, India. Minor, Political science, Sociology.
Ethnographic investigation of White Shark cage diving in New Zealand, Department of Anthropology, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
PHD APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY
A study of romantic motive and mental health in relation to creativity of male painters and non-painters. Applied/ Evolutionary Psychology, University of Calcutta, India.
Shark- human holistic research and Knowledge system
The lives and oceanscapes of sharks are highly threatened. The present way of creation and dissemination of knowledge is not having an effective impact on shark conservation initiatives. Consequently, in this proposal, I plant the seeds of Shark- human holistic research and Knowledge system approach (SHHRKS) a transdisciplinary, transmodal, tranceknowledge system multispecies approach in education, creation, analysis, and dissemination of shark knowledge and its application in policy.
Thoughts on shark demystification
" The most important question is...did mere dis-information create this image? ...The shark was merely the right vessel to commodify our primal dread of the unknown, hence it had such a long-lasting cognitive effect in mass consciousness. To counter that, yes, it is pivotal to spread unbiased and factual knowledge, however, the more I contemplate, Dostoevsky's words come back to me ‘Beauty will save the world’ ....
The Marine Social Science Network
The Marine Social Science Network (MarSocSci) aims to increase awareness and understanding of the integral role that social sciences can have in management and decision making for our global seas and coastline. What a great honor it is to be the international officer for the Marine Social Sciences Network. I look forward to contributing to the global movement of marine social sciences. Furthermore, as the Indian Lead it is my pleasure to announce the launch of the Indian regional chapter of MarSocSci.
As a lifelong learner, I’m constantly expanding my skill set through professional and personal experiences. Below you will find some of my key abilities, along with how these skills have led to success.
Anthropologist with extensive first-hand experience in knowledge creation in the field.
Marine Social Science
Transdisciplinary Human- Shark researcher.
12 Years training as a psychologist
Qualitative and quantitative investigator.
Strong written and visual communication skills.
Experienced teacher, university with over eight years of experience.
Experience in human resource development and passionate about team building.
Proficient in Office suite, Google suite, and other data specialized organizational and analysis software such as Nvivo, Spss, R, Dragon, etc.
Explore - Educate - Conserve
Professor of psychology and transdisciplinary research at Sister Nivedita university, India.
My responsibility is to support students of psychology with various topics including organizational society, mentorship, public presentation, and initiation of a transdisciplinary research lab at the university.
Executive member, Research, Innovations & Extension committee
ICUN Forests 2022
It will be my pleasure to represent SNU as the faculty Coordinator for ICUN Forests 2022 International Course Program
Human animal conflict advisor, Sundarban tiger widow welfare society.
My responsibility is to support creation of strategies to provide best sustainable solutions for humans and sharks to create opportunity to support the humans who have suffered the shark bites, as much as creating conservation strategies to support the sharks who are losing their natural habitat due to anthropogenic effects.
OTHER WORK EXPERIENCE
University of New Plymouth ANTH503: Applying Anthropology (2021). Special lecture on marine anthropology.
Sea explorers institute Kolkata (2019). Introduction to marine anthropology.
University of canterbury (2017). 1 session, Environment, Development and Disaster.
The government college of arts and craft (2013). 8 session module created and taught on applied aesthetics psychology.
TUTORING, UNIVERSITY OF CANTERBURY
Anthropology,410. Multispecies Studies.
Anthropology,103. Identity, Ritual and Power: An Introduction to Anthropology.
Sociology,112. Global Society.
Human services,103. Violence in Society.
Post graduate peer advisor- University of Canterbury.
Founder of Aichacademia.com,- Educational, organizing, support for returning/ mature students.
Vidyanjali International school (2013). Sociology and psychology teacher
Germination management services, (2013-2014) HR representative.
Entertainment and art industry India, as an actor, painter and producer.
RECOGNITIONS & FUNDINGS
UNIVERSITY OF CANTERBURY ALUMINA ASSOCIATION GRANT
Special grant for significant contribution to Zealand Marine research and conservation.
UNIVERSITY OF CANTERBURY RESEARCH REPORT
Featured researcher from department of Anthropology.
SCHOOL OF LANGUAGE, SOCIAL & POLITCAL SCIENCES FUNDING
2017, 2016, 2015
Funding for Field work equipment, conference..
NEW ZEALAND CENTRE FOR HUMAN-ANIMAL STUDIES
Featured researcher, the first ethnographic investigation of a marine practice
University of Canterbury.
SELECTED CONFERENCES & PRESENTATIONS
Technology in human shark research, a 5 min presentation. Discussing about Technology in human shark research at the Digital Technology in Nature workshop organized by the The University of Melbourne, Australia. At the Animal Computer Interaction Conference 2021, 9 November 2021
Introduce a new human- shark research methodology I have been working on for the Blackpool and The Fylde, 18th November, 2021. College.
Waterworlding Conference (Cultural studies approaches to multiple waters) organized by the Institute for European Ethnology/Cultural Studies at the Philipps University of Marburg (June 17-19, 2021).
Environment and conservations of Aotearoa New Zealand, 2018. Napier. Communities protecting nature.
Australasian Animal Studies Association conference, 2017, Adelaide.
Animal Intersections art, 2017, Adelaide. Panellist and artist.
New Zealand marine sciences society and Australian marine sciences association, 2016
White, an ethnographic exploration of a hyperreal shark.
Multispecies ethnography; challenges the humanistic epistemology in anthropological investigation.
Indian National Confederation and the Academy of Anthropologists, 2018. Marine Anthology a path ahead.
First prize in paper presentation on experimental social psychology at the 47th national & 16th international conference of the Indian Academy of Applied psychology, 2012
Diagnostic Applied Neuro-psychological Association, 2013. presentations on applied arts in mental health.
Sea explorers Institute, 2019, introduction to marine anthropology.
Indian Lifesaving society, Kolkata, India, 2015; The Native and the jaws.
Stores if adventure and research with great white sharks in NZ.
Rotary club of Belvedere Garden, Kolkata, India.2015
Fun life of sharks, and the marine environment, talking with standard 1 to 8 at Timaru south school, 2017.
Motivational talk for standard 12 at Timaru high school, 2017.
Other memberships & certifications
I a certified advanced PADI Diver, The only Indian member of New Zealand Speleological Society; a certified Postgraduate Tutor from University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Sundarban tiger widow welfare association, self reliance project; Human animal conflict advisor.
Rotary, India Literacy Mission, Consultant.
Founder of Gouri, free self defense training for women and children.
"From you I was created...and in you I shall go back at the end"