Call for applications // Field research internship in social sciences (INFRAPATRI programme)
Call for applications for a field research internship for 1 master student in social sciences (anthropology, sociology, cultural geography). The intern will be part of the research program INFRAPATRI “Knowledges and Attachments to Urban Plants in Sub-Saharan Africa (Benin, Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal): Identification and Production of a Heritage from Below" (coordinated by Dr Emilie Guitard).
The interdisciplinary project INFRAPATRI aims to study the local knowledges and forms of attachment to urban plants in four sub-Saharan African cities : Yaounde in Cameroon, Ibadan in Nigeria, Porto-Novo in Benin and Dakar in Senegal.
Our reflection is based on the notion of "heritage from below", allowing us to understand the relationship of city dwellers to plants in terms of memory and conceptions of the past, rarely recognized by institutional approaches to heritage conservation. Plants in the city, which cover multiple figures and spaces, are in fact used in a variety of ways based on practical or symbolic knowledge. Together, this knowledge and uses are produced by various urban collectives based on family, ethnic identity, religion, neighbourhood, profession or political representation, etc.. We formulate the hypothesis that they are preserved and transmitted through different channels at the basis of various forms of urban identifications. The aim of the project will be to identify these forms of heritage from below emanating from plural relationships to plants, and to analyse them in the light of past and present institutional attempts to patrimonialise urban plant entities and groupings.
This research project is based on a comparative approach. The four cities selected for the survey present contrasting but not dissimilar histories and ecosystems. All of them are also threatened today by urbanization policies determined by a certain conception of "modernity" promoting the use of concrete, the artificialization of soils and highly regulated greening methods, in addition to land and property speculation. Nevertheless, in each of these cities, urban plants have recently been brought up to date by new urban elites or public authorities, through the prism of the global model of the "sustainable city" promoted by international cooperation and major development agencies.
Within the framework of INFRAPATRI, interdisciplinary collaborations between human and social sciences and natural sciences will be set up in order to understand urban nature both as a historical, social and cultural construction and as a set of living elements with tangible physical, biological and ecological properties. This interdisciplinary project thus brings together geographers, anthropologists, historians, botanists and artists from Benin, Cameroon, France, Nigeria and Senegal, all of whom are familiar with the cities selected for the survey and the project's issues.
As part of the field research conducted in Ibadan by Dr. Emilie Guitard (anthropologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research and program coordinator), Prof. Saheed Aderinto (historian at the Florida International University) and Dr. David Ladipo (botanist at the International Society for Tropical Foresters), the program is recruiting a master's level intern in social sciences (anthropology, sociology, cultural geography) for 6 months. Hired by the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), and hosted at IFRA Nigeria (Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan) under the dual supervision of Dr. Emilie Guitard (programme coordinator) and Dr. Barbara Morovich (anthropologist and IFRA Nigeria’s director), the intern will be responsible for conducting an ethnographic survey with Ibadan City and Oyo State institutions in charge of, and/or interacting with, plants in the city and the local urban heritage (Oyo State ministries, LGA and any other relevant body acting at the level of the city or its LGAs). The methodology will include, notably, semi or non-directive interviews (based on grids), (participant) observation of meetings and public events involving the studied institutions, and archival research on the administrative documents and grey literature made available by them.
The intern will receive a monthly stipend. However, transportation, meals and accommodation to and within Ibadan will not be covered.
To submit your application, please send :
- a CV
- a short cover letter (1 page and a half max.) presenting your academic background and your interest in working for this very specific research program
- a short research project (2 pages max.) including a main research question, elements of methodology and bibliography
Interviews with a first selection of candidates will take place at IFRA Nigeria between December 6 and 16, 2022, for a start in March 2023.