Alejandra Osejo Varona

I am a first-year PhD student in Anthropology at Rice University. I joined the graduate program in fall of 2021. My current research interests include Environmental Anthropology, Social Studies of Science and Technology, Critical Cartography, and Experimental Ethnography. My developing research aims to analyze conflicts about water conservation in Colombia, focus on the scientific models used to map its flows beyond the ground. More specifically, I want to understand how the distinctions between groundwater and surface water, between soil and subsoil, and between living and non-living beings are produced by scientific practices as a matter of economy and politics amid the increase of extractivism and commercial agriculture in the Colombian high mountain.

I studied Anthropology at Universidad del Cauca, in Popayán (Colombia). There, I worked as a lecturer at Universidad del Cauca, Fundación Universitaria de Popayán and Universidad Nacional Abierta y Distancia. I also participated in various research projects at Universidad del Cauca about the effects of the country’s armed conflict on campesinos, indigenous and Afro-descendant people involving ecological and health aspects. After that, I studied a MSc in Rural Development at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), funded by a grant from the Brazilian government. Upon returning to Colombia, I worked at the Instituto Humboldt, the national research institute linked in charge of advising policymaking on biodiversity and ecosystem services in the country. At this Institute, I led the research line on Governance and Equity in charge of analyzing collective action around Colombian biodiversity. Especially, I researched the conflicts and tensions derived from exclusionary conservation policies in the Colombian high mountain. Also, I developed projects about sustainable use of the forest, processes of community tourism, exchanges between traditional and scientific knowledge systems, and sustainable agricultural developments based on local knowledge.

My studies at Rice are supported by funded by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (Minciencias) of the government of Colombia and the Fulbright Commission-Colombia.


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