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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Joeva Rock is an Assistant Professor in Development Studies in the Department of Politics and International Studies and a fellow of Murray Edwards College. An anthropologist, she uses ethnographic methods to study the interplay of food, politics, and development.


Dr. Rock’s research examines the development, use, and discourse over genetically modified crops in Africa. The bulk of this work has taken place in Ghana, where Dr Rock conducts ethnographic research with farmers, activists, officials, and scientists. Her manuscript on this research – We are not starving: The Struggle for Food Sovereignty in Ghana – is forthcoming in September 2022 from Michigan State University Press.

Additionally, Dr. Rock is 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. Relatedly, she is interested in new genome-editing tools, and what sort of political and agronomic implications they might have for agricultural systems in Africa.

Finally, Dr. Rock is 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, her research has been funded by the Fulbright Program, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Schmidt Family Foundation, the Explorers Club, American University, New York University, and the University of Cambridge.


Key publications: 

Rock, Joeva (2022) “We are not starving: the Struggle for Food Sovereignty in Ghana.” Michigan State University Press.

Rock, Joeva and Rachel Schurman (2020) “The Complex Choreography of Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa.” African Affairs 119(477): 499-525.

Rock, Joeva (2019) “‘We Are Not Starving’: Challenging Genetically Modified Seeds and Development Discourse in Ghana.” Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment 41(1): 15-23.**

Rock, Joeva (2018) “Complex Mediascapes, Complex Realities: Critically Engaging with Biotechnology Debates in Ghana.” Global Bioethics 29(1): 55-64.

** Winner of the 2019 Boahen-Wilks Outstanding Scholarly Article in Ghana Studies Prize.