Paula Palanco Lopez

PhD researcher
Medical and Environmental Anthropology

History, Culture and Communication Studies
Faculty of Humanities

I am Paula Palanco Lopez, doctoral researcher in medical and environmental Anthropology. After pursuing an Advanced Masters in Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KULeuven, Belgium), I carried out anthropological research about health-related topics such as antibiotic use in East Africa or global typhoid Public Health campaigns.

Currently, I am researching human-microbial relationships in the context of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These relationships are characterised by tensions: we need microbes to survive, but those same microbes can be a threat to our lives. We are quickly approaching a world in which our current ‘antimicrobial’ ways of managing these relationships won’t be possible anymore, so we need alternative ways. But then, how can we navigate these tensions and survive and thrive in this fast-approaching future? In my project, I aim to propose an alternative way to the war-like, antimicrobial logics that currently prevail in global public health policy. This way would be based on more-than-human communication and negotiation as methods for understanding our entanglement with microbes, and for tackling AMR.

My interests are wide, but range between communication-related matters (especially within more-than-human relations) to STS, soil, biodiversity and global health.As a trained anthropologist, my sharpest tools are ethnographic and other qualitative methodologies, but I am keen on methodological innovation that might include: arts and audiovisual approaches, literature and creative writing, and/or practical experimentation, such as what can be found in a lab or food garden.

Research interests

  • More-than-human relationality
  • Microbial ecologies
  • More-than-human negotiation
  • Alternative agriculture
  • Permaculture
  • Agroecology
  • ANT
  • AMR
  • Antimicrobial use
  • Posthuman theories
  • More-than-human methods
  • Knowledge co-production
  • Decolonising theory

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