Julie Hermesse

Professor of anthropology at UCLouvain

In September 2020, I was appointed professor of anthropology at UCLouvain.

I started my career as a doctoral Fellow of the FRS-FNRS in 2007-2011 with a PhD in Disasters Studies, dealing with questions of disasters and the socio-natural deconstruction of such phenomena from the point of view of political ecology and symbolic anthropology. For this, I spent more than 15 months in Guatemala and defended my thesis in May 2011. I then obtained a postdoctoral fellowship from the FRS-FNRS, 2012-2016, which also included research stay at the “Environmental Change Institute”, at Oxford University and during which I concentrated in particular on the analysis of the margins of adaptation and resilience of small agrarian systems to hydroclimatic threats. Based on fieldwork carried out in Cuba and the Philippines, I focused on peasant agriculture and its adaptive logic through the close and daily observation of the cultivated environment. My recent research focuses on the analysis of agroecological transitions (Ultra Tree research (Innoviris funding), on the viability of small area market gardening installations in the Brussels peri-urban area. I also work on the interlocking of seed systems in Belgium and France and more broadly). Another point of interest is the understanding of ecological transitions (research projects CONACI (Innoviris funding) and Wood in Molenbeek both dealing with the circular economy in Brussels; ANR Bioculturalis research on biocultural protocols). The theme of transitions constitutes an empirical deepening of a subject that I have been addressing since the beginning of my academic career: reflecting on ecological and anthropological transitions in order to anticipate threats and learn how to live with and counter disasters.

Selection of Publications

Foyer J., Hermesse J., Hecquet C., 2020 « Quand les actes agricoles biodynamiques sont aux care et au compagnonnage », Anthropologica, Vol. 62 (1), pp. 93-104.

Hermesse J., Plateau L., Van der Linden M., 2020, « Le bénévolat, un soutien au maraichage professionnel agroécologique en phase d’installation », VertigO- La revue électronique en sciences de l’environnement.

Vankeerberghen A., Hermesse J. et F. Lohest, 2020, « Des recherches en co-création pour une alimentation juste et durable à Bruxelles », in Vankeerberghen A. et J. Hermesse (Eds.), Transitions pour une alimentation juste et durable à Bruxelles : contributions de recherches en co-création, Academia-L’Harmattan, Louvain-la-Neuve, pp.17-54.

Hecquet C., Hermesse J., Stassart P.M., 2019, "Locking the seed system and stakes of its reappropriation", Etudes Rurales (Cairn international), n°202.

Hermesse J., Hecquet C. and P.-M. Stassart (Eds.), 2018, « Les semences », numéro thématique pour Etudes rurales, n°202.

Stassart P.M., Maarten Crivits, Hermesse J., Tessier L., Van Damme J. and J. Dessein, 2018, « The Generative Potential Tensions within Belgian agroecology », Sustainability 10, 2094.

Hermesse J., 2018, “Adaptation of rice cultivation to climate and socio-economic changes in the Ifugao Region (Philippines)”, Monteverdia, 11(1): 1-11.

Dujardin S., Hermesse J., Dendoncker N., 2018, ‘Making space for experiential knowledge in climate change adaptation? Insights from municipal planning officers in Bohol, Philippines’, Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 10(1), a433.

Hermesse J., 2016, De l’ouragan à la catastrophe au Guatemala. Nourrir les montagnes, Karthala, Paris.

Hermesse J., 2014, «Reafirmación de la vitalidad de los rituales a las montañas y a la lluvia después del paso de un huracán en el Altiplano de Guatemala», Revista de Antropología Iberoamericana, Vol. 9(3), pp.257-277.

Hermesse J., 2014, « De l’intelligibilité de la catastrophe : entre rupture et continuité. L’altiplano mam du Guatemala confronté au passage de l’ouragan Stan », ethnographiques.org, n°28 « Changement, événement, rupture » [En ligne], [http://www.ethnographiques.org/2014/Hermesse].