Field research internship for 1 Master student in social sciences - INFRAPATRI project

An old ficus tree in front of the Opadere family compound. Oké Dada. Photo Emilie Guitard December 2021. min. min min minThe 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) and Prof. Saheed Aderinto (historian at the Florida International University), in collaboration with the visual artists Delphine and Elodie Chevalme and the documentary photographer Anthony A. Obayomi, the program is recruiting a master's level intern in social sciences (anthropology, sociology, cultural geography) for 6 months. Hosted at IFRA Nigeria (Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria) 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.

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 as an intern for this very specific research program
  • a brief presentation (2 pages max.) of the scientific protocol you would use to carry out the research expected as an intern of the program INFRAPATRI, including a main research question, elements of methodology (interlocutors, field research tools, calendar) and bibliography

To This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before December 22, 2023 midnight. Note that incomplete applications or those sent after the deadline will not be considered.

Interviews with a selection of candidates will take place at IFRA Nigeria between January 15 and 17, 2024, for a start in the same week, until mid-July 2024.

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