Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Postdoctoral fellowship - HI-LANDeS


IntroductionHanne Cottyn.jpg

Project 101065205 — HI-LANDeS. More-than-Human Histories of Rural Landscapes in the Andes, 19th-20th century.

Coordinator: Department of History, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Partner institution: Department of Historical and Geographical Sciences, Universidad de Tarapacá, Arica, Chile

Intersectoral secondment: NGO Agua Sustentable, La Paz & Cochabamba, Bolivia

36 months, 1 February 2023 – 31 January 2026

Project description

In the face of planetary-wide anthropogenic change, new knowledge and methods are required to better grasp how human and nonhuman actors have contributed to global socio-environmental transformations of rural landscapes. Strategic sites for carbon storage, water sources, and biodiversity, as well as home to resilient indigenous communities, Andean wetlands offer a unique site to examine “more-than-human” landscape histories, and how these can inform contemporary socio-environmental challenges. Based on two case studies in wetland areas of the Bolivian-Chilean highlands, the HI-LANDeS project, which is funded under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, aims to develop a more-than-human approach to investigate the role of indigenous communal practices and knowledge production around water and land in the transformation and governance of rural landscapes. The project implementation is based on archival research, fieldwork, and community workshops, analysed within a global framework and a transdisciplinary collaboration. Through knowledge transfer between historical-ethnographic research and environmental governance, the insights to be gained could facilitate the adoption of more inclusive conservation and rural development policies both at local and global levels.


The HI-LANDeS project asks:

Objective 1: How have land and water management practices been mobilised, adapted and reinvented as part of communities’ negotiations over state- and market-oriented infrastructures and related environmental changes?

  • I will collect and examine historical and ethnographic empirical data on changes in communal land and water management practices in two Andean wetland areas since the mid-19th century: 1) the bofedales around Mountain Sajama, across the Bolivian-Chilean border; 2) the Lake Poopó water basin, Bolivia.

Objective 2: How does it help us understand structures and instabilities in the landscape?

  • I will develop a conceptual analytical framework that combines and critiques the emerging fields of world-ecology and environmental humanities to identify and analyse the structural drivers and multispecies entanglements at play in the transformation of Andean rural landscapes.

Objective 3: How can these historical insights inform and transform research and governance agendas?

  • I will apply co-creational methods to co-produce knowledge that adds to the existing source base, and critically assess how these can strengthen historical research practice and environmental governance.

Role of Ghent University

The HI-LANDeS project is based at the research group Economies, Comparisons, Connections (ECC) at the Department of History, which is a key member of the Ghent Centre for Global Studies. At Ghent University, the project will also develop a dialogue with the research group INSPIRA at the Department of Agricultural Economics, and with other researchers and research groups with shared interdisciplinary research interests. As part of this Global Fellowship, the project will support a research collaboration between Ghent University and the Universidad de Tarapacá in Chile, which will host the project during the outgoing phase (2023-2025) to conduct archival research and field work, and to develop joint publications and outreach activities. During the return phase in 2025-2026, Ghent University will be the basis for the processing and dissemination of research results.



Prof. Eric Vanhaute
Department of History
Phone number: +32 9 33 102 88
E-mail: Eric VanhauteHanne Cottyn 

Funding info

vlag plat funded by the eu.JPG

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency (REA). Neither the European Union nor the authority can be held responsible for them.