Transregional Collaborative Research Grants


Our team undertakes an interdisciplinary, collaborative study on connections and comparisons of port-driven coastal change in mangrove communities across Gujarat and Mozambique. At the nexus of land and sea, we examine sociocultural, ecological, and economic exchanges rooted in ancient Indian Ocean maritime connections that continue to shape emerging South-South relations of extraction. We focus on two interlinked ports: The Adani port in Gujarat, which has become a “model port” for India, and, moreover, for replicating along East Africa’s rising “Coal Coast. We consider the uneven, unequal, and deeply affective ways that coastal communities are enmeshed between the two coasts, beginning with intimate scales of fishing, cultivation, and livestock-rearing in mangrove ecologies on which they depend. We follow these linkages to macroscale trade partnerships and blueprints to remake Africa in India’s image. The mangrove, as our methodological and empirical anchor, pushes beyond totalizing ways of knowing these coasts.

Principal Investigators

Inês Raimundo

Professor, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo

Inês Raimundo is the former director of the Centre for Policy Analysis and professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo. She is a human geographer and ethnographer, and a specialist on migration in Mozambique, including international and transborder dynamics, as well as internal rural-urban mobilities and forced displacements from environmental disasters. Her scholarship also makes her a leading policy expert on linkages of food insecurity, gender, poverty, infectious diseases, and informality in southern Africa. In her most recent direction of research, Inês is a leading scholar on the social and environmental aftermath of the cyclones Idai and Kenneth that hit the southeastern coast of Mozambique in March 2019, considered one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa. Coastal destruction of infrastructure and ecologies translated to intense inland flooding, from Beira City into the Gorongosa hinterland, Inês's ancestral home. Her experience in post-disaster and displacement research has led to her interest in critically reimagining scholarly collaborations. The international teams she was involved with fundamentally misunderstood power asymmetries of knowledge production and horizontal team-building. This is needed for critical environmental work among agrarian populations that face repeated disappointments by research procedures. These experiences inspire her desire to facilitate this innovative transnational and Global South- led collaboration. Major focuses are: situated histories of concepts of sustainability; questioning representativity; subverting hierarchies of expertise, and political implications of nature and culture divides in contemporary social sciences, including emerging discussions of Africa in the Anthropocene.

Serena Stein

Researcher, Wageningen University, the Netherlands

Serena Stein is a researcher at Wageningen University, the Netherlands, in the Centre for Space, Place & Society. An anthropologist working on environment, climate change, and agribusiness, Serena investigates extractive frontier-making and fragilities of capitalism in entangled landscapes across the Global South. Her doctoral work at Princeton University investigates a decade of short-lived plantation investments and aid interventions in smallholder agriculture in the ambit of Brazilian South-South Cooperation in northern Mozambique. Her book project, Kindred Frontiers, chronicles these experimental South-South connections and their aftermaths, as renewed intimacies among former imperial kin ultimately accentuate anxieties over presumed models of progress as well as generate new possibilities of conviviality and compromise, potentially threatening livelihoods, land tenure, and ecologies. This research feeds writing on the political ecology of soybean in Africa; gender and queer relations among African farmers; abandoned plantations; and agrochemical toxicity and desire among smallholders. At Wageningen University, Serena leads the ConvivAG Research Lab, with studies on farming and biodiversity; technologies and markets for carbon sequestration in soil; and indigenous/settler dynamics in regenerative agriculture networks and practices. Doubly-rooted in Brazil and the United States, Serena has conducted over two years of field research living and farming in Mozambique since 2011. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Wenner Gren Foundation, Mellon Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, and Princeton University, among others.

Chandana Anusha

Phd Candidate, Yale University

Chandana Anusha has a PhD in anthropology from Yale University with a focus on coastal development and socio-ecological change in Gujarat. Fieldwork experiences since 2006 inspire her engagements with uneven effects of state-sponsored infrastructural projects on landscapes. As a volunteer investigating the impact of a massive dam project in her home state of Gujarat, she observed changing crop practices as farmers adapted to dam construction. During her master's at Delhi, she engaged in a collaborative study on forest councils and agrarian households in India's central Himalayas. She saw that people’s attachments to forests persisted even when their material needs did not depend on them. In 2011, she took these questions of dependency and access to a wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat, where the state had rehabilitated people displaced by the dam. She studied the implementation of a law guaranteeing indigenous rights to forests. Engaging with government officers, activists, and forest dwellers, she observed mapping and counter-mapping activities. She also engaged in collaborative ethnographic research of a Muslim girls' school in Ahmedabad amid rising religious polarisation. With her PhD, she expands her focus from forests to coasts, where twenty-first century Indian state aspirations of geopolitical ascendency through international trade have transformed the Indian coastline into a new frontier of resource control. She conducted over 18 months of ethnographic research, engaging with farmers, fishworkers, and graziers, and visiting port officials to understand how their ideas of a good life, best practices of land-use, and imaginations of prosperity became enmeshed in a mega-port project meant to expand and accelerate Indian Ocean connections.