Dr Merisa Thompson

Dr Merisa Thompson

International Development Department
Lecturer in Gender and Development

Contact details

School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Merisa is an interdisciplinary gender scholar whose work sits broadly at the boundary between critical development studies and feminist political economy. Her main research interests include feminist theory, political economy, development, intersectionality, food studies, agrarian change, histories of colonialism and the Caribbean.


  • PhD in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, The University of the West Indies 
  • MA in Social Research, University of Sheffield
  • BA Sociology, University of Sheffield


Merisa joined the IDD in November 2019 as Lecturer in Gender and Development. She was previously a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield where her research focused on issues related to global food justice.

Prior to that she undertook her PhD in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, where she was also a Graduate Tutor. Her PhD was a historical and contemporary gendered analysis of relations between food producers, the state and capital in the post-colonial nation of Trinidad. Merisa has also worked on a range of research projects (including monitoring and evaluation) with NGOs in both the UK and Caribbean.


MA Gender and Development

UG Global Development Challenges


Merisa’s current work has three broad, but interlinked strands: firstly, understanding intersections of gender, race, class and nation, and how gendered food-producing identities, in the Caribbean and beyond, navigate and are reproduced by the political economy; secondly, exploring questions of politics and power between states, capital and food producers in the global food system, and relations between human and nonhuman actors, with a particular focus on the dairy sector; and, thirdly, envisioning ways of generating greater justice in global, regional, national and local food systems as a whole. She has conducted fieldwork in the Caribbean, New Zealand and across the UK. Merisa draws on a range of qualitative methods to underpin this work: historical archival research, interviews, ethnography and visual analysis. 

Research interests:  

  • gender, politics and power
  • feminist international political economy
  • food, agriculture and the environment
  • human and nonhuman actors
  • feminist epistemologies and methodologies

Current and Recent Projects 

Principal Investigator, British Academy/Leverhulme Trust, Intersections of Gender, Race and Class: The Impact of Colonial Legacies on Contemporary Food and Agricultural Policy in the Caribbean, 2022-2024. 

Research Fellow, N8 Agrifood/HEFCE, Global Food Justice, 2016-2019. 


Recent publications


Thompson, M 2022, 'Alternative visions of “ethical” dairying: changing entanglements with calves, cows and care', Agriculture and Human Values, vol. 2022. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-022-10384-5

Thompson, SE, Whitehead, CA, Notley, AS, Guy, IA, Prabhakar, CRK, Clift, P & Hudsmith, LE 2022, 'The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on application of European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines for exercise in adults with CHD: a data-based questionnaire', Cardiology in the Young, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 270-275. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1047951121001864

Thompson, M, Cochrane, A & Hopma, J 2020, 'Democratising food: the case for a deliberative approach', Review of International Studies, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 435-455. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210520000017

Thompson, M 2020, 'Milk and the Motherland? Colonial Legacies of Taste and the Law in the Anglophone Caribbean', Journal of Food Law & Policy , pp. 135-157.

Thompson, M 2019, 'Cultivating ‘new’ gendered food producers: intersections of power and identity in the postcolonial nation of Trinidad', Review of International Political Economy. https://doi.org/10.1080/09692290.2019.1663748

Thompson, M 2019, 'Still searching for (food) sovereignty: why are radical discourses only partially mobilised in the independent Anglo-Caribbean?', Geoforum, vol. 101, pp. 90-99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2019.02.028


Bishop, ML & Thompson, MS 2020, The IPE of Caribbean Development. in E Vivares (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Global Political Economy: Conversations and Enquiries. Routledge, Oxon, pp. 621-634.

Thompson, M 2018, Critical Perspectives on Food, Political Economy & Gender. in J Elias & A Roberts (eds), Edward Elgar Handbook on the International Political Economy of Gender. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 470-485.

Other contribution

Thompson, M & Picchioni, F 2021, What happens to ‘gender’ in food and agricultural research? Mapping four broad trends. Development Studies Association. <https://www.devstud.org.uk/2021/09/23/gender-food-ag-research/>

Thompson, M 2020, Why the gendered political economy of COVID-19 matters. Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute.

Thompson, M 2018, What is the financialisation of food and why should we care?. Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute .

Thompson, M 2016, ‘Eating power’ and the oligopolisation of the Haitian food economy. Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute .

View all publications in research portal