Professor Jo Sharp
- Professor of Geography/Deputy Head of School (School of Geographical and Earth Sciences)
I am a political, cultural and feminist geographer with particular research interests in postcolonialism and critical geopolitics. Throughout my research career I have been keen to trace the ways in which different forms of knowledge work through various institutions, whether this is the ways in which geopolitical knowledges of the world are reworked through popular and media accounts, or the ways in which local people’s knowledges of their environment can influence the ways in which development is practiced. I have undertaken research in the UK, US, Egypt and Tanzania. While I strongly believe in the importance of grounded field research, I think this always needs to be contextualised within rigorous theoretical analysis. I am committed to collaborative research, and have been involved with interdisciplinary projects with a number of social scientists, natural scientists, and vetinary and human health researchers.
I came to the University of Glasgow in January 1995 after finishing my PhD "Condensing the Cold War: Reader's Digest and American Identity" at Syracuse University at the end of 1994. My research interests are in feminist, postcolonial, cultural and political geographies. Much of my research has been undertaken in Africa, most recently in Tanzania. I am an active member of the Glasgow Centre for International Development. I am currently the "Setting the Agenda" editor for Political Geography and sit on the boards of Scottish Geographical Journal, Geography Compass, Geopolitics and Space and Polity.
Current Research Projects:
I am involved in leading interdisciplinary One Health research on endemic zoonoses in the changing landscapes of Northern Tanzania. We have combined a number of projects that are being led from Glasgow into the Livestock, Livelihoods and Health project. The two projects I am directly invovled with are both funded by the Zoonoses and Emerging Livestock Systems scheme, which also involves a doctoral training programme:
Social, Economic and Environmental Drivers of Zoonoses in Tanzania (SEEDZ)
Livestock systems in Africa are undergoing rapid transition. Changes in market dynamics, land-use and agricultural policy, environmental factors, cultural practices and technology are all changing the way people keep and manage livestock, both for food and as sources of income. However, the consequences of these changes on zoonotic disease risk are almost unknown. This project uses the case of Tanzania to explore the nature of livestock systems, focusing on two systems undergoing rapid transition - the pastoral-wildlife sector affected particularly by expansion of crop-based agriculture and sedenterisation, and the periurban livestock sector, affected by high levels of migration. Within these systems, we will compare relatively stable traditional communities with more transitional communities) to characterise social, cultural, economic, political and environmental drivers of changes, examine how these relate to risks of diseases transmitted to people from animals, and how these diseases affect household livelihoods and poverty. We will first develop models of disease risk using information on three zoonotic diseases, brucellosis, Q-fever and RVF, which are widespread in northern Tanzania, and have important impacts on human health and livestock productivity. From this, we will produce a model that can be applied to several other zoonotic diseases and which will allow us to anticipate how drivers may affect livestock systems and zoonotic disease risks in the future. This project is funded by the ZELS consortium, grant number: BB/L018926/1.
Hazards Associated with Zoonotic enteric pathogens in Emerging Livestock meat pathways (HAZEL)
This project aims to understand and address hazards for human health associated with two major zoonotic enteric pathogens in emerging livestock meat pathways in Tanzania, i.e. non-typhoidal Salmonella and Campylobacter. One type of Salmonella in particular, ST313, is responsible for ca. 500,000 deaths per year in sub-Saharan Africa, and Tanzania was identified by DFID as “hotspot” for both bacterial species. The HAZEL project aims to (a) Understand traditional and emerging livestock meat pathways in key agro-ecologic settings (urban, peri-urban, mixed crop and livestock, and pastoral-wildlife interfaces); (b) Undertake qualitative and quantitative process assessment of the livestock meat pathway with respect to the zoonotic enteric pathogens non-typhoidal Salmonella and Campylobacter; and (c) Identify areas for improvement of food safety policy and practice in Tanzania that address transitions in meat production in order to mitigate human illness and to explore opportunities for enhanced national and regional trade. This project is funded by the ZELS consortium, grant number: BB/L017679/1.
This research seeks to reconstruct an alternative vision of the current “war on terror” from the point of view of a continent which is usually rendered silent in various geopolitical visions, or little more than a “site of violence and disorder” and thus always offering the possibility of threat to security. During the Cold War, Africa was part of the “left over” territory of the Third World, whose future was yet to be significantly channelled down the developmental path of either the First or Second alternatives. Similarly in the period since the attacks on the US on September 11th 2001, Africa has been brought into geopolitical visions only in the language of “failed states” which might harbour dangerous forces. In both cases, Africa failed to fit into the neat binary of US-communism or US-terrorism, except as a place which, if not properly shored-up, might provide “breeding ground” for either. Both geopolitical accounts, and critical engagements with them, have tended to overlook alternative, especially African, perspectives on security and international relations: Africa may be represented in geopolitical arguments, but geopolitical arguments originating in Africa rarely get heard. Focusing on Tanzania as an example which lies outside of the binary US-"terrorist other", but is still very much entangled within the discourses of terror and security at the heart of dominant geopolitics, this research will analyse the discourses through which the war on terror is communicated to Tanzanians through the popular press to examine the extent to which a distinct postcolonial view exists which offers creative alternative, or subaltern, conceptualisations of security and geopolitics. This project was supported by an ESRC Mid Career Fellowship, Creating postcolonial subjectivity subaltern geopolitics, knowledge and citizenship in Tanzania (RES-070-27-0039).
The social ecology of bacterial zoonoses in northern Tanzania
Bacterial zoonoses are responsible for a large proportion of febrile illnesses in northern Tanzania, where neglected bacterial zoonotic pathogens, e.g. Leptospira, Coxiella and Brucella spp., account for 11 times more febrile hospital admissions than malaria. However, these infections are under-diagnosed and relatively little is known about transmission patterns among animal hosts, which host species are responsible for transmission to humans, or the key socio-economic and behavioural determinants of human disease risk in different agro-ecological settings. This study will integrate several disciplinary approaches, including socio-economic and behavioural studies, human febrile illness surveillance, and linked human-animal epidemiological studies. The research project, will take place in Kilimanjaro and Arusha Regions and will involve hospital based surveillance of human febrile cases, a case-control study of febrile patients, a cross-sectional survey of people and animals to look at household exposures and social science studies in all of these settings. I am a co-investigator on this project with Professor Sarah Cleaveland (PI), Professor Dan Haydon and Dr Jo Halliday of the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, in collaboration with the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, the Tanzania National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Sokoine University of Agriculture, the Tanzanian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), Duke University Medical Center. The project was supported by the BBSRC (BB/J010367/1) and the US National Institute of Health.
Popular geographical imaginations and knowledges
I have an interest in the creation of popular geographical imaginations and knowledges and the ways these are connected to everyday realities of identity and gender roles. In my PhD research and subsequent publications, I have examined how the media construct particular imagined world geographies for their audience at the same time as generating a sense of national identification and purpose for them. I have also published on popular geographies constructed through travel writing, literature and film.
The role of public art in cities
Great claims are currently being made for the role of public art in cities, particularly in Europe and North America. Some have argued that such projects can reclaim a sense of community while others insist that such aesthetic improvements have an influence on the economic prospects of an area. There are also interesting questions which relate to the responsibility that public art has to its publics and the processes through which various groups of people are involved in the production of the art. This part of my research aims to examine the introduction of a number of public art projects in Scotland both in terms of delivery by a range of design and planning professionals and as the works are received by the various publics they are directed to.
Gender and indigenous knowledges in Upper Egypt
The overall aim of the research project is to identify and understand the ways in which indigenous environmental knowledges are constructed and mediated, and subsequently employed by local people living in difficult, semi-arid environments to manage the natural resource base for everyday life. Fieldwork is centred around the Wadi Allaqi area in Upper Egypt. Of particular interest are the ways in which male and female knowledges are constructed differently in relation to the use and management of such resources.
Sharp, J. (2011) A subaltern critical geopolitics of the war on terror: postcolonial security in Tanzania. Geoforum, 42(3), pp. 297-305. (doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2011.04.005)
Sharp, J. 2014-2018 Social, Economic and Environmental Drivers of Zoonoses in Tanzania (SEEDZ), (DfID and RCUK, awaiting project code), (co-PI, 45%), £2.7m (fEC).
Sharp, J. 2014-2017 Hazards Associated with Zoonotic enteric pathogens in Emerging Livestock meat pathways (HAZEL), (DfID and RCUK, awaiting project code), (social science lead, 35%), £788k (fEC).
Sharp, J. 2012-2016 Ecological and Socio‐Economic Factors Impacting Maintenance and Dissemination of Antibiotic Resistance in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem. BBSRC/ESRC/NSF (BB/K01126X/1), (Co-I, 40%), UK funding: c£560k (fEC), total c.£2m.
Sharp, J. 2011-2014. The impact and social ecology of bacterial zoonoses in northern Tanzania, BBSRC/ESRC/NIH ( BB/J010367/1) , (Co-I, 40%), UK funding: £534,505 (fEC), total c.£1.5m
Sharp, J. 2011-13. ESRC Mid-Career Development Fellowship, Creating postcolonial subjectivity subaltern geopolitics, knowledge and citizenship in Tanzania, £249,708 (ESRC, RES-070-27-0039).
Sharp, J. 2010-11. The environmental and social factors affecting human disease risk in Kibera, Nairobi, £2040, Carnegie Trust.
Sharp, J. 2009. A subaltern critical geopolitics of the “war on terror”: postcolonial conceptualisations of security in Tanzania, £2,360 (Carnegie Trust).
Briggs, J. and Sharp, J. 2006-2009. Environmental management and sustainable development knowledge transfer and research training programme. £104,540 (Scottish Executive International Development Fund). In collaboration with: North-West University (Mafikeng Campus), South Africa; University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and University of Malawi, Malawi.
Sharp, J. and Briggs, J. 2003-2004. Women's literacy and handicraft programmes. £8,750 (DFID Gender and Development Small Projects). Co-Investigators: I. Springuel (South Valley University, Aswan).
Briggs, J. and Sharp, J. 2002-2003. Bedouin women's development programme, Wadi Allaqi, South Eastern Desert, Egypt. £9,970 (DFID Gender and Development Small Projects). Co-Investigators: I. Springuel (South Valley University, Aswan).
Briggs, J. and Sharp, J. 2001-04. Natural resource management for sustainable development in arid environments. £25,000 (DFID Academic Links Programme). Co-Investigators: A. Belal and I. Springuel (South Valley University, Aswan).
Briggs, J. and Sharp, J. 2000-2001. Bedouin women and sheep production in Upper Egypt, £8,950 (DFID Gender and Development Small Projects). Co-Investigator: I. Springuel (South Valley University, Aswan).
Briggs, J. and Sharp, J. 2000-2002. Indigenous environmental knowledges and sustainable development in semi-arid Africa, £95,411 (DFID/ESCOR). Co-Investigators: I. Springuel (South Valley University, Aswan).
- Nicola Pritchard
- Georgia Ladbury
- Sabina Lawrie
- Emma Laurie
- Patricia Campbell
- Julius Mngumi
- Andrew Wilbur
- Thomas Aneurin Smith
- Orleans Mfune
- David Beel
- Cheryl McGeachan
- Geraldine Perriam
- Norman Rae
- Richard Kyle
- Andrjez Zieleneic
I contribute to Geography-1, the core courses in Geography-3 and -4 and the MRes in Human Geography. My new Honours Option on Geographies of Development will run in the academic year 2014-15.