Universiteit Leiden

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Mireia Alcantara Rodriguez

PhD candidate/Guest

M. Alcantara Rodriguez MSc
+31 71 527 2727

Current Research

Mireia's PhD project is part of the ERC Project BRASILIAE. Indigenous Knowledge in the Making of Science: Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (1648), directed by P.I. Dr. Mariana de Campos Françozo.

The project analyses how indigenous knowledge played a role in the making of science, and how this knowledge, embedded in the seventeenth-century treatise Historia Naturalis Brasiliae, has transformed since colonial times. From an ethnobotanical approach she will focus on detecting retentions in traditional plant use by local communities in present-day Brazil. To this end, she will compare ethnobotanical data collected in situ in the Amazonian rainforest with ethnobotanical data from the historical source HNB.


She holds a BSc degree in Biology (University of Valencia, Spain) and she obtained an MSc degree in Environmental Biology (University of Utrecht, The Netherlands). During the MSc she specialised in Ethnobotany conducting research on the HNB, which resulted in the Master thesis “Medicinal and other useful plants of the Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (1648): Are they currently used in Brazil?” In this project she became acquainted for the first time with Marcgrave and Piso’s work.

Her second thesis, entitled “African origin of Papiamentu plant names” involved the cooperation with the linguistic department of the University of Utrecht and consisted in interdisciplinary research between botany and linguistics on the African plant legacy in the Caribbean. After graduating she obtained several grants to conduct fieldwork in the páramos of the Colombian Andes. During this project she organised workshops with local people, she made an inventory of the ethnoflora of the campesinos and she focused in potential declining plant resources and its relation to climate change.

Academic interests

These vary between interdisciplinary research, biodiversity and conservation, kincentric ecology, community participation, traditional plant knowledge preservation, indigenous peoples and cultural heritage.

PhD candidate/Guest

  • Faculteit Archeologie
  • Archaeological Heritage
  • Heritage of Indigenous Peoples


No relevant ancillary activities

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