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Maëlle   Calandra

Postdoctoral Fellow
CREDO - Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l'Océanie
Labex corail / PSL (France)
[ ]

I speak in the following language(s): French, Italian, English, Bislama

I am a social anthropologist with a PhD from the School for Advanced Study in Social Sciences (EHESS, Paris). I'm currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Labex Corail / PSL-CREDO UMR 7308.
I specialise in Pacific societies, particularly rural Vanuatu (Tongoa Island). My main interests cover the domains of disaster, risk management, anthropology of nature, ethnoecology and ethnobotany. I had a rich field experience with a 19 months study on Tongoa Island (Vanuatu). I worked on several projects: ANR 2010-STRA-011-05: “Ecosystèmes, territoires, ressources vivantes et agricultures au Vanuatu [Végé-Culture]”, with the European Corsortium for Pacific Studies (ECOPAS) and for the French Foundation and The Collège de France on a project entitled “Une étude comparative des savoirs et perceptions locales des zones coralliennes incluses dans les territoires maritimes français”. I speak Bislama, English as well as Italian and French (mother tongue).
Environmental sciences
Member of
European Society for Oceanists (ESfO)
Société des Océanistes (SdO)
e-toile Pacifique (e-toile)
Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO)
Geographic administrative areas
Geographic places
Historical periods
21st century
Indigenous languages
Bislama, Efate, North, Namakura
Download the CV
  • Masters Research (2011 to 2012)
    « Une ethnographie des jardins de subsistance à Tanna (Vanuatu): horticulture et "catastrophes" » — EHESS, CREDO, ANR-2010-STRA-011-05 « Ecosystèmes, territoires, ressources vivantes et agricultures au Vanuatu [Végé-Culture] »
    This thesis concerns the inhabitants of Lamlu, a village in the Central Region-Bush, on the island of Tanna (Vanuatu). It deals with issues relating to ownership and usage, both symbolic and material, between horticulturists and their gardens, which are frequently subjected to "disasters". This research attempts to capture how clearings in these environments are associated with interpretative systems enabling growers to identify, classify, prevent and anticipate "catastrophes" in the making. This study also attempts to understand the socially constructed relationships that the inhabitants form with nature and with natural disasters.
  • PhD Research (2012 to 2017)
    JARDINS DE TERRE, JARDINS DE MER À TONGOA (VANUATU) Une anthropologie de la nature domestique dans un milieu affecté par la catastrophe — EHESS
    Based on seventeen months of fieldwork carried out between 2013 and 2015 on Tongoa, an island in the archipelago of Vanuatu, the present PhD dissertation and its underlying reflection aim to study domesticated spaces, both on the ground and in the sea. This research explores and follows the logics of subsistence gardens, underlying the relationships cultivated both between islanders and these spaces, and between them and the non-human entities inhabiting their world. Such an approach helps underline how the land and the sea are conceptualised in a common frame of understanding, and shows how both spaces equally build up the way of living and thinking of those who create them and tap into their resources. The environment of the Man-Tongoa bears the weight of potential disasters, whose very contingency is an inescapable given of daily reality. The appropriated spaces are regularly shattered, sometimes even temporarily wrecked, by large-scale seismic or climatic events – as demonstrated by the cyclone Pam, which took place in March 2015. The ethnography of this event and the analysis of the various phenomena pertaining to the local category of disasta demonstrate how the notion of disaster is locally constructed, when “tradition”, Christian denominations, and NGOs offer non mutually intelligible or compatible explanations.
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