About

Joeva Rock Bio PicHello! 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.

My research to date has mainly been in Ghana, where I’ve spent close to a decade researching a hotly contested, and highly complex, global effort to introduce genetically modified crops to Ghanaian farmers. 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 – is under contract with Michigan State University Press.

I’m also engaged in a couple of additional research projects. First, 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. Second, 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 will examine discourses of agriculture, the state, and modernization in colonial Ghana.

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

Prior to moving to Cambridge, I taught at the University of California-Berkeley and within the Health Inequity and Care Program at American University. I also held postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of International Studies at Dalhousie University, and at the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University. I hold a PhD in Anthropology from American University.