Tierra McMahon

Tierra McMahon

PhD Candidate

Department of Anthropology

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Arabic, Darija, English, French, Spanish
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About me

Research Topic: Animal Sacrifice and the Enduring Political Economy of Modernity in Morocco

Tierra McMahon is a researcher at the London School of Economics in the Department of Anthropology. Her current research examines the (enduring) political economy of modernity in Morocco with attention to how modernity narratives, along with class, kinship, and gender expectations, are employed to justify or change social/cultural practices, specifically animal sacrifice in a ritualistic context. Her research is based on multiple years of fieldwork in Morocco, from which she just returned, as well as residence and extended stays realized over the past decade. 

Tierra’s previous research at the LSE investigated latent religious proclivities of leading voices in dominant artificial intelligence circles primarily in the UK and sought to interrogate the ways by which certain ideas, discursive constructs, and performative acts—specifically those that posit ‘man’ against ‘machine’—serve not only to popularize specific ontological and epistemological claims about humans, AI, and God, but to support certain techno-political agendas with a global reach. Tierra received the 2019 LSE Bloch and Parry Prize for Best MSc Dissertation for her work titled: “Alpha Go-ing Where?: Faith, Fetish, and Financial Gain in the World of Artificial Intelligence”  

Trained as an anthropologist and an economist, Tierra has cultivated a strategically interdisciplinary educational and professional trajectory. Before returning to the university to conduct her doctoral research, she worked as an Economist and Policy Analyst at the OECD in Paris, with frequent fieldwork missions to Asia, and also served at UNESCO, where she provided data, textual content, as well as editing and production services for a high-level publication released at the 2014 UN General Assembly as well as for other work conducted under the aegis of the Post-2015 Development Goals Agenda. These professional experiences greatly impacted her understanding of intra-national, political-economic dynamics, as well as her appreciation of key features of knowledge production on a global scale, which she seeks to bring to her anthropological work. 

Tierra’s current research is funded by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).