Professor Arjun Guneratne will be presenting a talk on the changes in ornithology, or the study of birds, in Sri Lanka on Nov. 29 at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. Guneratne will be making the correlation between the transformations of ornithology and the rising of another social group, by examining the cultural changes among those who are involved in ornithology.
The past practice of collecting specimens by British expatriates, who had established ornithology in Sri Lanka, changed with the rise of a native Sri Lankan elite during the middle of the 20th century. This group of people did not share similar values or interests with the British. As a result, ornithology shifted to become an observation-based field of study instead of a specimen collecting-based study.
The transformation can also be attributed to the development of new technologies, such as field guides and binoculars, and the emergence of a preservationist ethos, Guneratne said in a press release.