Current Institutional Affiliation
Development Sociology, Cornell University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2016
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Development Sociology, Cornell University
Techno-Tropicalismo: The Origins and Politics of Public Agricultural Research in Brazil

My research looks at the organizational culture, research structure and outreach of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, known by its acronym Embrapa. Embrapa is a public agricultural research institution that has been at the center of Brazil's agricultural transformation which took the country from being a net food exporter to now one of the world's largest agricultural exporters over the last forty years. This experience has propelled Embrapa into the global spotlight as a successful model for agricultural research and has since been exported to numerous countries in the developing world. In my research, I look at the historical development of Embrapa, the formation of its research and organizational culture built around educational attainment and scientific expertise and the current push to export it as a model for agricultural research in other countries. The project utilizes two primary data sources: ethnographic data based on interviews at Embrapa's headquarters in Brasilia and the "Tropical Agroindustry" field research center in Fortaleza; and archival records from Embrapa's library and Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA), both located in Brasilia. To analyze this data, I draw on and contribute to three interdisciplinary fields: Science and Technology Studies (STS); Critical Agrarian Studies and the Political Economy of Development. This methodological and theoretical combination intends to contribute to an interdisciplinary understanding of the nature of the relationship between the state, science, agriculture and development.