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‘Pending and Insistent Research Questions’ About Sustainable Development in Paraguay Led Alumna Christine Folch to a 2021 Carnegie Fellowship

Christine Folch (Photo courtesy of Folch)

By Lida Tunesi

Graduate Center alumna Christine Folch (Ph.D. ’12, Anthropology) was named a 2021 Andrew Carnegie Fellow, receiving $200,000 for a two-year study of sustainable development in Paraguay.

“I was thrilled to receive the Carnegie fellowship,” said Folch, now an assistant professor in the departments of Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Sciences and Policy at Duke University. “It gave me a way to put together an ambitious project that I’ve been dreaming about and developing for a few years, but would not have otherwise been able to get off the ground.”

Folch will spend 14 months in Paraguay, shadowing social entrepreneurs who are finding ways to balance poverty alleviation and development with environmental protections in the midst of climate change. Examples of these local solutions include Indigenous-led market-oriented agroforestry, and recycling and waste-reduction programs for the landfill and surrounding neighborhoods in Asunción, Paraguay’s capital city. Besides academic and policy-oriented publications, Folch plans to produce several documentary shorts about her findings.

Folch’s multifaceted work, which mixes politics, the environment, economics, and culture, can be traced back to her time at the Graduate Center.

“My dissertation committee was deeply interdisciplinary,” she said. “I worked with cutting-edge anthropologists of Latin America, including Marc Edelman and Fernando Coronil, scholar of the state Katherine Verdery, and Marxist geographers like Neil Smith and David Harvey.”

“I went to the GC because of its commitment to theoretical analysis that is grounded in community — the connection between studying and action,” Folch added. “This still animates the work I do.”

Submitted on: JUN 16, 2021

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