Alder Keleman


Research Overview

Broadly speaking, I am interested in the relationship between culture and crop genetic resources (i.e. agrobiodiversity). My past work has explored the ways in which policy, technology development, and economic change impact the in situ conservation of maize landraces in Mexico. I have also been involved in cross-country comparisons of informal markets for landrace seed.

In my dissertation research, I am examining the relationship between agricultural biodiversity, household nutrition and food security, and changing food culture in Bolivia. In particular, I am interested in understanding how native and traditional Andean crops function as culinary resources at the household level. How do these foods figure among the array of options that Bolivian food-preparers (primarily women) employ to create meals that are satisfying to their families, friends, clients, or other publics? And how, in the context of contemporary political and social change in Bolivia, does the consumption of native and traditional foods dovetail with wider public discourses surrounding indigeneity, cultural heritage, and national belonging? These are the questions I seek to answer in my dissertation fieldwork, to be carried out in 2012 and 2013.