Last modification : Wednesday, March 8, 2023
The successful candidate will be a member of the Department of Social And Cultural Anthropology at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the KU Leuven, a vibrant community of 8 lecturers, 15 postdoctoral scholars, and 12 PhD students. Our research is clustered around three axes: “making”, “moving”, and “living”. The envisioned doctoral project sits at the intersection of the research streams “making” and “living” in times of climate change. The selected candidate will be part of a research consortium consisting of 3 partner institutions: KU Leuven (Belgium), University of Ghent (Belgium), Egerton University (Kenya) and will be embedded in the research communities at those respective universities through project-based writing seminars, workshops and networking events.
This project will focus on an interdisciplinary, ethnographic study of organic pesticide production (pyrethrum) in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. Pyrethrum is a pesticide component derived from the chrysanthemum plant species. The yellow heart of the so-called ‘killer daisy' contains a natural toxin called pyrethrin that is used to produce organic pesticides and insecticides. The premise of this project is that an ethnographic exploration of the pyrethrum revival programs in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania can provide uncharted knowledge about adequate responses from the Global South to the global environmental crisis. This knowledge is crucial to develop a better understanding of African technical and social ingenuity in the wake of the Anthropocene, an era defined as dominated by humanity's destructive impact on the environment. The research question guiding this project is: what kind of ideologies, expertise and technologies emerge in the Global South as responses to global environmental challenges? This translates into 3 sub-questions: (RQ1) Which political, cultural and environmental ideologies influence local, provincialized notions of ‘the organic' and the ‘green growth' the pyrethrum revival program aspires? (RQ2) What kinds of technological innovations emerge because of the pyrethrum revival program and how do these innovation initiatives build upon infrastructural legacies from the (colonial) past? (RQ3) Which kinds of expertise does the pyrethrum revival program generate and how does this expertise compete with other forms of power, knowledge and authority in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and globally? The project is a unique collaboration between KU Leuven, UGent and Egerton University (Kenya).
Applications are invited from candidates with the following qualifications:
We offer you a full-time PhD scholarship starting on October 1, 2023. The appointment is initially for one year, but renewable for three years after a positive evaluation, leading to a Doctorate in Social and Cultural Anthropology. The fellow will receive all regular provisions for PhD fellows at the University of Leuven. In addition, s/he/they will be allocated office space and a laptop, and receive funding for research activities and fieldwork.Interested?
For more information please contact Mr. Nick Rahier, tel.: +32 16 32 16 21, mail: [email protected] or Prof. dr. Katrien Pype, tel.: +32 16 32 04 82, mail: [email protected]
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