My doctoral research, completed in 2018, looked at quilombola grassroots organisation around land in Maranhão state, Brazil. Drawing on cultural and religious practices taking place in a compound of Black rural quilombo communities, my research explored local politics of alliance between peasant groups that self-identify as descendants of maroon settlers. I am especially interested in the mobilisation of local resources in defence of quilombo territory when formal means of establishing land claims have been exhausted. My thesis’s broadest argument is that creative uses and articulations of cultural and religious practices -namely the local ceramic production and popular Catholic festivities- together with the creation of a network of alliances, transpire as the most relevant means of ‘informal’ community politics.
My doctoral research formed part of the joint research project ‘Currents of faith, places of history: Religious diasporas and world-making in the Atlantic space’, funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) consortium. During my longterm field research in Brazil, I was also a Visiting Researcher at the Museu Nacional, URFJ.
From September 2018, I will be 2018/19 Stipendiary Fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS), School of Advanced Study, University of London.