Rachael Chan

Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Geography and the Environment

Supervisors: Professor Fiona McConnell and Dr Hannah Fair

Indigeneity and Cultural Diplomacy in Taiwan

Academic Profile

Rachael is a DPhil student in Geography interested in the intersection between political and cultural geographies. Her current research (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council) adopts archival and ethnographic research methods to explore how Indigenous cultures feature in Taiwan's international cultural diplomacy. By doing so, she hopes to scrutinize the production of indigeneity beyond international frameworks and state-centric contours, whilst also expanding decolonial thought relating to non-Eurocentric contexts.

Rachael is currently supporting the Political Worlds Research Cluster as graduate coordinator, and would love to facilitate suggestions for events, collaborations and creative projects that diversify and decolonize geographical knowledges. Please contact her at rachael.chan@ouce.ox.ac.uk if you might have suggestions.

Past Research

Prior to commencing her DPhil in 2022, Rachael's research critiqued the intersection between power, hegemonic knowledge-making, and the production of visual cultures of nature. As part of her undergraduate dissertation, Rachael employed digital ethnographic methods to study communities of birdwatchers in Singapore that engage in social media. Drawing on themes from Postcolonial Theory and Science and Technology Studies, she investigated how a postcolonial spectre haunts birdwatchers' perception of nature, gendered practices of groupmaking and citizen science participation. Her MSc dissertation was also situated in Singapore, interrogating the production of pre-wedding photographs in climatically cooled glasshouse gardens as a form of worldmaking that reified the state's vision of an idealized future amidst climate and population decline.


  • MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance (2021-2022, Campion Hall, Oxford)
  • BA in Geography (2018-2021, Mansfield College, Oxford)


  • ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentship, jointly funded by St John's College (2022-2025)
  • C.D.D. Gibbs Prize for Best Performance in FHS examinations (2021)
  • Linda McDowell Prize for best Critical Human Geography Dissertation (2021)
  • J.C.A. Meldrum Prize (Runner-Up) for Extended Essays (2021)