Barbara Abrahao

barbara stiubiener abrahao

DPhil Student

St Antony's College

Thesis: The Miracle of Photosynthesis: An Enquire About Value in the Brazilian Amazônia

Research: My ethnography takes place in a quilombola community in the Amazônia forest. I am observing the encounter of quilombola practices, knowledge and myths with those of a financial market actor aiming to produce environmental assets. I am interested in how this dialogic encounter unfolds in order to extract financial value from the quilombolas' lives and territory. I study the different steps and practices that allow environmental assets to emerge from a collective land to be placed on a global market.

I am also interested in the dwelling practices that circulate between indigenous and quilombolas in the region I study. They all make roçados (swidden agriculture), gardens, and castanhais (Brazilian nut forest) and plants resurgence lies at the center of their relationship with land. My research looks at how the making of the landscape enhances the financial value of the assets being produced.

I hope to tell a story of how climate change and its politics affect quilombola’s social organization and relationships with the environment. The community draws on this encounter to reproduce their own life stories and culture in desirable or traditional ways. I receive support from the Wenner Gren Foundation. I am also a visiting doctoral student at the Núcleo de Altos Estudos da Amazônia/Advanced Centre for Amazonian Studies of the Universidade Federal do Pará (UFPA).

Research interests: anthropology of environment, anthropology of economics, value systems, anthropocene, Amazônia and landscape.


Barbara is co-supervised by Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos.