Olivia Barnett-Naghshineh is an economic anthropologist with a focus on value, gift exchange, gender and markets. She is working on questions of decolonising anthropology alongside research on the impacts of colonisation, globalisation and climate change on food systems.
Olivia is collaborating with historians and health researchers at the European Centre, University of West Indies, York and Cambridge to create a ‘Transdisciplinary Data Assemblage’ of Caribbean food systems.
She is particularly interested in questions of how to ensure food systems are equitable, sustainable and nutritious, and how research can inform policy and practice in the Caribbean and elsewhere in accessible ways. She has a keen interest in questioning processes of knowledge production, how different kinds of knowledge get valued, and the environmental and gendered impacts of colonisation, both historic and ongoing.
Olivia’s academic training began with a degree in social policy at the University of Bristol in which she specialised in globalisation, development and international social policy. Following work for food and gender related NGOs in the UK and Togo, West Africa, she then studied for an MSc in development studies at SOAS University of London .
After focusing on colonial histories, urbanisation, changing food systems and food sovereignty for her post-graduate research, Olivia continued this focus through PhD research in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea.
She worked with women in the food market in Goroka, Eastern Highlands, to explore how food commodification was impacting market women’s lives and their families. Using concepts of recognition, care, affect, emotions and the gift, she analysed the many ways in which women’s efforts get valued in the indigenous economy.
Olivia completed her PhD at the University of Auckland. She also teaches an online course on decolonising anthropology at Goldsmiths University, where she questions for whom and how anthropological knowledge is produced.
Olivia is also a member of the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Association for Social Anthropologists, the European Association for Social Anthropologists, and the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania.