Leticia Cesarino

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Department:
Anthropology
Term:
Fall 2012

A salient trend in the international development scene has been the growing visibility and influence of so-called emerging donors, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these non-DAC members have framed their efforts under the rubric of South-South cooperation (SSC), a mode of providing development cooperation to other nations in the global South that proclaims different principles than those guiding “traditional” aid, such as demand-drivenness, non-conditionality, and non-interference.  Brazil is one such players; largely driven by foreign policy, its SSC initiatives have skyrocketed during the past decade or so. My dissertation looks at this emerging phenomenon through the prism of technical cooperation being currently provided by Brazil’s national agricultural research institute to partner institutes in the African continent. Based on multi-sited fieldwork research on both sides of the Southern Atlantic (with a focus on West Africa), I am seeking to explore the principles policy-operational practice continuum of Brazil-Africa SSC in terms of several interlocking angles (institutional architecture, history, discourse, sectorial policies and politics, and project execution) in order to tease out both its differences and continuities vis-à-vis Northern development aid. Working on the interface between anthropology of development and science and technology studies, my dissertation seeks to weave these various angles together through the empirical question of the socio-technical controls implicated in technology and knowledge transfer initiatives at progressive levels of context. Inspired by Boaventura de Sousa Santos’ proposal for a “situated postcolonialism”, particular attention is being paid to the historical density and world-systemic topography of Brazil-Africa relations, as well as to their articulations with each region’s domestic developments and processes of internal colonialism.