About

POLIS headshotsHello! I’m an Assistant Professor in Development Studies and a fellow of Murray Edwards College at the University of Cambridge. As an anthropologist, I use ethnographic methods to study the interplay of food, politics, and development.

I’ve spent close to a decade researching a complex and contested global effort to introduce genetically modified crops to Ghana. I study “up, down, and sideways,” meaning I am interested in how actors and power across scale, from multinational corporations to Ghanaian farmers, shape foodways. My manuscript on this research – We are not starving: The Struggle for Food Sovereignty in Ghana – was recently published by Michigan State University Press.

My work is broadly focused on the the intersections of agriculture and technology. I’m a co-PI on the mBio Project, which uses tools from data science, social science, and digital humanities to build interactive platforms for the public to explore agricultural biotechnologies. Moreover, I’m interested in what sort of political and agronomic implications genome-editing tools might have for agricultural systems in Africa. I began this work as a postdoctoral fellow with the GEAP3 Network. Finally, I’m in the early stages of an archival project that is examining the Sasakawa Global 2000 program, an ambitious effort by Norman Borlaug, Jimmy Carter, and Ryōichi Sasakawa to bring a “Green Revolution” to Africa.

To date, my research has been funded by the Fulbright-Hays Program, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the British Academy, and has been featured in African Affairs; Culture, Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentGlobal BioethicsThe NationPopula; and Foreign Policy in Focus. I also served as a contributor to Africa is a Country, where I wrote on issues related to development, agriculture, and social change.

Prior to moving to Cambridge, I taught at the University of California-Berkeley and was a postdoctoral fellow first in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University, and later in the Department of International Studies at Dalhousie University. I hold a PhD and MA in Anthropology from American University, and a BA in International Studies from the University of California-San Diego.