Environmental anthropology, multispecies ethnography, organic agriculture, plantations, species extinction, conservation
Italy, Germany, India
As an environmental anthropologist, my current thinking revolves around two topics at the heart of contemporary ecological transformations: the monocultural worlds of plantations on the one hand, and ambitions to create “wild” environments on the other. Negotiating between the extremes of monoculture and wilderness, between the desire to control ecologies and attempts to care for their vitality, is a central concern of contemporary eco-politics. I approach this tension through the lens of multispecies ethnography, an ethnographic genre that looks at how people are interconnected with other species, and how human decisions and nonhuman life affect each other.
My doctoral research focused on attempts to cultivate Indian tea plantations through organic agriculture – and thus to turn plantations into solutions to, rather than drivers of, environmental degradation. My findings show that organic monocultures create ambiguous relations between precarious human labour and the productivity of other species. In my current postdoctoral research, I look at ambitions to rewild landscapes in the Italian Apennine mountains. Here, I am interested in how “wilderness” becomes a thing to be managed, and in how managing wilderness impacts both local communities and European conservation policies.
Before joining the Department ‘Anthropology of Politics and Governance’ as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2020, I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Media from Goldsmiths University of London, a Master’s degree in Cultural History and Theory from Humboldt University of Berlin, and a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Leipzig. My doctoral research was funded by the Hans Böckler foundation, and a chapter of my thesis received the “EASA Award for a Postgraduate Student Paper in the Anthropology of Food”. In recent years, I have been a visiting researcher at Istanbul University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Schumacher College, and Aarhus University.