UD professor receives fellowship to conduct anthropological research in Ecuador
10:10 a.m., May 1, 2013--The University of Delaware’s Carla Guerrón Montero, associate professor of anthropology, has received a Prometeo Fellowship to study nutritional anthropology in a rural Ecuadorian community.
The fellowship, awarded to less than 15 percent of researchers who apply, is a flagship program of the Ecuadorian government. Guerrón Montero’s research will center on inter-generational food behavior and practices in Ambuquí, Carchi in Ecuador.
Through the fellowship, she will conduct ethnographic research to study nutritional practices, local perceptions of dietary patterns and food security, intergenerational and gender differences, child growth heterogeneity and diet diversity in the community.
The rural community is one of four areas (located in three ecological floors) selected for study in a larger, multidisciplinary, longitudinal project that seeks to determine best practices for optimal health outcomes for children.
The general objective of the project is to learn about positive deviance (PD) and social heterogeneity in the dietary family practices of these rural communities in the province of Carchi.
Key questions in the project include how to understand and strengthen PD in food production and family nutrition in contexts of adversity, and how PD can be strengthened through scientific backstopping to catalyze needed institutional change toward sustainability.
Ultimately, the project aims to identify successful daily practices within the familial and community context that resolve nutritional problems, and to bring this local knowledge to the forefront of national public policy.
This is a multidisciplinary collaborative research project developed by the Latin American School of Social Sciences (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, FLACSO) in Ecuador and Wageningen University in the Netherlands. It incorporates the expertise of rural sociologists, anthropologists, nutritionists and geographers, among others.
Nutritional anthropology is the secondary area of research of Guerrón Montero. She has conducted collaborative longitudinal research on health, nutritional practices and food security the Valley of El Chota, Ecuador (1998-2002).
The Prometeo Fellowship will cover Guerrón Montero’s research expenses for summers 2013 and 2014 in Ecuador. In summer 2014, she will also teach a graduate course on the anthropology of food at FLACSO and will train graduate students from the two partnership universities on ethnographic research methods.
The Prometeo Project is an initiative that seeks to promote and strengthen education, scientific research, innovation and technological development in strategic areas of interest for Ecuador’s growth. The project stipulates that Ecuadorian and foreign researchers with wide and well-known experience in their particular area of study take up their residence in Ecuador in order to develop collaborative research projects with national and international institutions.