Postdoctoral Position on Maize-Human Relatedness in Mexico

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 20 Apr 2021

Applications are open for a postdoctoral position in social anthropology at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). The fellowship is part of the project “Flourishing Seeds. Value Creation and Relatedness in AgroBiodiversity Hotspots,” funded by the ERC Starting Grant SeedsValues (950220).

Project abstract:

We still lack fundamental knowledge to identify the manifold values of agricultural plants. While the value of crop varieties is usually assessed in economic terms, we need to also consider the ethical engagements that incentivise farmers to perpetuate biodiverse agriculture. This will be achieved by examining seed-human relatedness - both affective and instrumental - in three agrobiodiversity hotspots: potato cultivation in Peru, maize in Mexico and rice in Laos. Prominent on global markets, also distinguished by international institutions as highly promising to reach “global food security” on our damaged planet, these crops are dear to the Indigenous people who cultivate and eat them daily. The SeedsValues project draws on ethnographic enquiries at the crossroads of economic anthropology, anthropology of ethics, anthropology of life and interspecies studies to shed new lights on the process of value creation in agricultural activities. It contends that agriculture offers a unique ethnographic object to overcome the current split between the economic and the ethical studies on value, thereby contributing to the elaboration of a general anthropology of value still lacking to date.

Under the supervision of Olivia Angé (SeedsValues PI at Laboratoire d’Anthropologie des Mondes Contemporains - LAMC), the successful candidate will carry out an ethnography into maize-human relatedness in intensive maize cultivation fields in the lowlands of Oaxaca or Chiapas, Mexico. (S)he will be working in collaboration with the SeedsValues team members; including a comparative tandem with a doctoral fellow (joint-supervised with Perig Pitrou at the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale - EHESS) who will study maize-human relatedness in a highland agricultural community of the same region.

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