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Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology & History
I study the history of science and struggles over indigenous crops in 20th century West Africa. My dissertation examines the socio-cultural biography of the cereal crop fonio (Digitaria exilis) in post-colonial Senegal. Long ignored by formal agricultural development, fonio is now promoted in efforts to rehabilitate West Africa’s agricultural biodiversity and is endorsed as a palliative food for the region's growing diabetic population. Drawing on interviews with Senegalese scientists, nutritionists and ethnography on fonio farms in southern Senegal, I interrogate how emergent markets for indigenous crops impact relationships among farmers, urban consumers, and the state; the ethnic and gendered politics of eating local in West Africa; and diverse attempts to reduce the region's trenchant dependency on imported cereals.
1029 Tisch Hall435 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI