Serena S. Stein F'19

Serena S. Stein
Doctoral Candidate
Anthropology
Princeton University

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2019
Doctoral Candidate
Anthropology
Princeton University
Farmers, Donors, Settlers, Seeds: Extractivism and Convivial Ecologies in Mozambique’s Agribusiness Frontier

This project examines social and environmental processes resulting from agriculture development projects in northern Mozambique along a landscape of coordinated investments in energy extraction, infrastructure, and agribusiness. Based on two years of multisited ethnographic and archival research, the dissertation analyzes encounters among smallholder farmers, agronomists, environmental activists, plantation investors, and Brazilian settlers brought together through the emerging paradigm of South-South cooperation over the past decade. The ethnography argues that ontological similarities drawn across disparate landscapes of the Global South legitimate agro-extractivism at various scales. This commensuration creates moral ecologies that rest upon—and unravel through—unequal power relations, hierarchies of knowledge, and contested belonging. In this boom-bust era of speculation, land grabs, and South-South technology transfers emerges conviviality, defined here as problematic solidarities among human and more-than-human collectives including soil, pests, spirits, and seeds. The project conceptualizes rural cosmopolitan futures, contributing to debates on domestication, state violence, and extractive accumulation.