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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge
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    Dr Joeva Sean Rock

    Centre for Developmental Studies
    Alison Richard Building
    7 West Road
    CB3 9DP

    Fellow in Developmental Studies

    Human Social and Political Science (HSPS)



    BA, International Studies (University of California – San Diego)
    MA, Public Anthropology (American University)
    PhD, Anthropology (American University)

    Selected Awards & Prizes:  

    2021 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Connections Grant (co-PI)
    2019 Boahen-Wilks Outstanding Scholarly Article in Ghana Studies Prize (Ghana Studies Association)
    2015  Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship
    2015  Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
    2015 Explorers Club Washington Group Exploration and Field Research Grant

    Research Interests:    

    Dr Rock’s research focuses on agricultural biotechnologies, international development, and social movements on the African continent. To date, most of her research has been in Ghana, where she has spent close to a decade researching a hotly contested, and highly complex, global effort to introduce genetically modified crops to Ghanaian farmers. Dr Rock studies “up, down, and sideways,” tracing how actors and power across scale, from multinational corporations to Ghanaian farmers, shape foodways. Her ethnographic manuscript on this research – We are not starving: The Struggle for Food Sovereignty in Ghana – is forthcoming in fall 2022.

    Dr Rock is engaged in several other research projects. She 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. Moreover, she is interested in the political and agronomic implications of newer genome-editing tools, work she began as a postdoctoral fellow with the GEAP3 Network. Finally, Dr Rock is in the early stages of an archival project that is examining the Sasakawa Global 2000 program and its early attempts to bring a “Green Revolution” to Africa.


    Dr Joeva Sean Rock is an Assistant Professor in Development Studies in the Department of Politics and International Studies and a fellow of Murray Edwards College. Trained in public anthropology, she uses ethnographic methods to study the interplay of food, politics, and development. Prior to moving to Cambridge, Dr Rock taught at the University of California-Berkeley and held postdoctoral fellowships at Dalhousie University and New York University. She has a PhD in Anthropology from American University.



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

    Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

    • 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.