Anthropology and Sociology
28 March 2020

PhD candidate awarded Doc.CH research grant

Facundo Rivarola, PhD candidate in Anthropology & Sociology, received the prestigious Fellowship.

Facundo Rivarola is a second-year Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology and Sociology department, originally from Paraguay. After finishing his undergraduate studies in the United States, he moved to Switzerland and started his longer academic sojourn within the Graduate Institute's faculty of Anthropology and Sociology: after his master programme successfully ended in 2017, he enrolled for the PhD-programme.

Having been awarded a master’s degree in Switzerland and after building meaningful academic and personal relations with my supervisor and faculty, I decided to apply to the research grant offered by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The support I got from my supervisor Prof. Shaila Seshia Galvin and the whole faculty in the ANSO department during the long application process was invaluable. I could not have achieved it without this collaborative effort. It was a truly humbling and growing experience in every sense, and I am excited to continue learning as my research develops in the coming years. The will allow me to conduct a total of 12 months of fieldwork, focus on publications, present my on-going research at international conferences and work on my final doctoral dissertation by 2022.

Facundo's research is concerned with some of the key questions about today’s uncertain environmental, social and political climate.

In recent years, there has been an emerging debate about the rights of nature and nature’s jurisprudence. From rivers to forests to animals, holders or claimants of rights are no longer presumed to be exclusively human. In Asunción, my home city and capital of Paraguay, new urban redevelopment projects deem that floodplains areas of the city are the “rightful” space of the river and that marginalized indigenous, mestizo and rural migrant communities living there should move elsewhere. My research will ethnographically examine how these top-down environmental claims create a direct conflict between the “rights of the river” and the rights of people. In this way, my goal is to advance our understanding about novel forms of governing people and the environment in an era marked both by climate change as well as greater social and political inequalities.

The Doc.CH (HSS) is aimed at promising researchers who wish to write a doctoral thesis on a topic of their own choice in the humanities and social sciences in Switzerland. Read more about.