Agricultural Biotechnology

Since 2013, I have been examining efforts by an international consortium of US government agencies, private foundations and agribusiness corporations to develop, research, and commercialize genetically modified (GM) crops in select African countries.

In my first project (2013-present), I examine controversy surrounding the commercialization of GM crops in Ghana with a focus on plant breeding, regulatory and patent law, and anti-GM activism. I employ an ethnographic methodology to examine the intersections of taste, identity and commercialization across three sets of actors: Ghanaian scientists and bureaucrats working on GM projects, a large and active social movement opposing those projects, and the potential end-users of GM crops, farmers. A day in the life of this project looks something like this.

My second project (2018-present) expands my original inquiry to half a dozen African countries where GM crops are either commercialized or under field trial in order to:

  1. map the complex international networks supporting GM crops for Africa, and;
  2. examine the governance of GM crops via the development and application of biosafety laws.

My research has been generously funded by the Fulbright-Hays Program, Wenner-Gren Foundation, British Academy, Explorers Club Washington Group, University of Cambridge, New York University, and American University.