Megan Carney

Associate Professor, Anthropology
Megan Carney

Emil W. Haury Building, Room 318

Megan Carney is a sociocultural and critical medical feminist anthropologist with specializations in critical migration and diaspora studies; food and climate apartheid; migrant health; women’s and youth migration; social reproduction, social solidarity, and the politics of (collective) care; critical food studies; and intersectional and diasporic feminist methodology and pedagogy. Her fieldwork is focused in the western United States and in Italy, specifically Sicily.

Dr. Carney's first book The Unending Hunger: Tracing Women and Food Insecurity Across Borders (University of California, 2015) examines how constraints on eating and feeding translate to the uneven distribution of life chances across borders, how neoliberal economic policies render hunger and displacement, and how the framework of “food security” continues to dominate national policy in the United States. Inspired by Chicanx and transnational feminist theory as well as critical perspectives on economic restructuring, Carney approached these issues through the lens of gender – in addition to race, class, and citizenship – arguing that “food security” as a biopolitical project rests primarily on the shoulders of low-income women whose caring labors in the realm of social reproduction are generally devalued by society. The book received the 2015 CHOICE award for Outstanding Academic Title, was named in 2018 by Healthline as one of the Best Books on Food Insecurity, and was selected in 2019 for the California Books to Action program.

Dr. Carney's second book (University of California Press, 2021), Island of Hope: Migration and Solidarity in the Mediterranean is an ethnography of the politics of economic austerity and migrant reception in southern Europe -- specifically Sicily -- and the emergent forms of "solidarity work" being performed by citizens and noncitizens on the frontlines of migrant-receiving communities. She continues to collaborate closely with a number of grassroots migrant solidarity initiatives, including a participatory film and storytelling lab with migrant youth for which she and her collaborators received an Engaged Research Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

Presently, she is engaged in ongoing, collaborative research with several community organizations in Tucson focused on racial justice and health equity through an abolitionist lens. Foregrounding theory from Black Geographies and Black feminist medical anthropology, the collaboration centers the experience of African diasporic populations in the American Southwest.

In addition, she is a co-founder and co-director of “The Future of Food and Social Justice: A Youth Storytelling Project.” Seeking to uphold UArizona’s obligations as a land grant and Hispanic-serving institution, the project centers the experiences of BIPOC, queer, and trans students at the UA by providing paid internships and diverse opportunities for mentorship, storytelling, and community engagement.

From 2021-22, Dr. Carney was a Fulbright Scholar with the Fulbright Schuman European Union Affairs Program. She is a former Udall Public Policy Fellow (2019-20) and Public Voices Fellow with The Op-Ed Project (2018-19).

Dr. Carney serves as Director of the UA Center for Regional Food Studies and on the steering committee of the UA Basic Needs Coalition. She is affiliated faculty in Africana Studies, Arid Lands Resource Sciences, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Food Studies, Human Rights Practice, Latin American Studies, and Middle Eastern and North African Studies. She is a co-founding member of the feminist collective Nutrire CoLab (and the eponymous podcast) and participates as a member of the interdisciplinary Microbes and Social Equity working group.

Selected Publications


Carney, M.A. 2021. Island of Hope: Migration and Solidarity in the Mediterranean. Oakland: University of California Press.

Carney, M.A. 2015 The Unending Hunger: Tracing Women and Food Insecurity Across Borders. Oakland: University of California Press. (Winner of the 2015 CHOICE award)

Selected peer-reviewed articles:

Carney, M.A., Chess, D., Ibarra, D., Dieudonne, K., Rascon-Canales, M. 2023. “‘A Million Other Factors Killing Us’: Black Women’s Health and Refusing Necropolitics-as-usual During Covid-19.” Social Science and Medicine. 

Hardin, J., Saldaña-Tejeda, A., Gálvez, A., Yates-Doerr, E., Garth, H., Dickinson, M., Carney, M.A., and N. Valdez. 2023. “Short take: Duo-ethnographic Methods: A Feminist Take on Collaborative Research.” Field Methods.

Carney, M.A., Chess, D., and Rascon-Canales, M. 2022. “‘There Would Be More Black Spaces’: Care/giving Cartographies During Covid-19.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly.

Carney, M.A. 2022. “Whiteness and Settler Colonial Logics in the Pacific Northwest Craft Beer and Hops Industries.” Food, Culture, and Society.

Valdez, N., Carney, M.A., Yates-Doeer, E., Saldaña, A., Hardin, J., Garth, H., Galvéz, A., and M. Dickinson. 2022. “Duo-ethnography as Transformative Praxis: Nourishment and Coercive Care in the COVID-era Academy.” Feminist Anthropology 3(1): 92-105.

Robinson, J., Redvers, N., Camargo, A., Bosch, C., Breed, M., Brenner, L., Carney, M.A., Chauhan, A., Dasari, M., Dietz, L., Friedman, M., Grieneisen, L., Hoisington, A., Horve, P., Hunter, A., Jech, S., Jorgensen, A., Lowry, C., Man, I., Mhuireach, G., Navarro-Pérez, E., Ritchie, E., Stewart, J., Watkins, H., Weinstein, P. and S. Ishaq. 2022. “Twenty important research questions in microbial exposure and social equity.” mSystems

Sangaramoorthy, T. and Carney, M.A. 2021. “Introduction to Special Issue: Immigration, Mental Health, and Psychosocial Wellbeing.” Medical Anthropology. DOI: 10.1080/01459740.2021.1931174

Carney, M.A. 2021. “Teaching with Microbes: Pedagogical Lessons from Fermentation During a Pandemic.” mSystems 6(4): e00566-21.

Ishaq, S., Flores, F.P., Wolf, P., Bonilla, C., Carney, M.A., Benezra, A., Wissel,   E., Friedman, M., DeAngelis, K., Robinson, J., Fahimipour, A., Manus, M., Grieneisen, L., Dietz, L., Chauhan, A., Pathak, A., Kuthyar, S., Stewart, J., Dasari, M., Nonnamaker, E., Choudoir, M., Horve, P., Zimmerman, N., Kozik, A.J., Darling, K., Romero-Olivares, A., Hariharan, J., Farmer, N., Maki, K., Collier, J.L., O'Doherty, K., Letourneau, J., Kline, J., Moses, P., and N. Morar. 2021. “Introducing the Microbes and Social Equity Working Group: Considering the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental, and Health Justice.” mSystems 6(4): e00471-21.

Gálvez, A., Carney, M.A., and Yates-Doerr, E. 2020. Guest Editors for Vital Topics Forum. “Chronic Disaster: Reimagining Noncommunicable Chronic Disease.” American Anthropologist 122(3): 639-665.

Carney, M.A. 2020. “Critical Perspectives on the Microbiome.” American Anthropologist 122(3): 642-643.

Carney, M.A. and Krause, K. 2020. “Immigration/migration and healthy publics: The threat of food insecurity.” Special issue on “Healthy Publics” with Palgrave Communications, an open-access journal of Nature.

Vannini, S., Gomez, R., Carney, M.A., Mitchell, K. 2018. “Interdisciplinary approaches to refugee and migration studies: Lessons from collaborative research on sanctuary in the changing times of Trump.” Migration and Society: Advances in Research 1(1): 164-174.

Carney, M.A., Gomez, R., Mitchell, K., and Vannini, S. 2017. “Sanctuary Planet: A Global Sanctuary Movement for the Time of Trump.” Society and Space.

Basu, S., Carney, M.A., and Kenworthy, N. 2017. “Ten years after the financial crisis: The long reach of austerity and its global impacts on health.” Social Science and Medicine, DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.06.026

Carney, M.A. 2017. “‘Sharing One’s Destiny’: Effects of Austerity on Migrant Health Provisioning in the Mediterranean Borderlands.” Social Science and Medicine, DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.02.041

Carney, M.A. 2017. “‘Back There We Had Nothing to Eat’: Mexican and Central American Households in the U.S. and Transnational Food Security.” International Migration. DOI 10.1111/imig.12293

Yates-Doerr, E. and Carney, M.A. 2016. “De-medicalizing Health: Reflections on the Kitchen as a Site of Care.” Medical Anthropology 35(4):305-21.

Minkoff-Zern, L.A. and Carney, M.A. 2015. “Latino Im/migrants, Dietary Health, and Social Exclusion: A Critical Examination of Nutrition Interventions in California.” Food, Culture, and Society 18(3):463-480.

Carney, M.A. 2015. “Eating and Feeding at the Margins of the State: Barriers to Healthcare for Undocumented Migrant Women and the ‘Clinical’ Aspects of Food Assistance.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 29(2):196-215.

Greenhalgh, S. and Carney, M.A. 2014. “‘Bad Biocitizens?: Latinos and the U.S. ‘Obesity Epidemic’.” Human Organization 73(3):267-276.

Carney, M.A. 2014. “The Biopolitics of ‘Food Insecurity’: Towards a Critical Political Ecology of the Body in Studies of Women’s Transnational Migration.” Journal of Political Ecology 21:1-18.

Carney, M.A. 2013. “Border Meals: Detention Center Feeding Practices, Migrant Subjectivities, and Questions on Trauma.” Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies 13(4):32-46.

Carney, M.A. 2011. “‘Food Security’ and ‘Food Sovereignty’: What Frameworks are Best Suited for Social Equity in Food Systems?” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development, 2(2):71-87.

Chapters in edited volumes:

Bellante, L., Carney, M.A., et al. Forthcoming. “Disrupting the Narrative: Youth Storytelling as Food Justice Activism.” Nourishing Food Justice, Alkon, A., and Agyeman, J. (eds). Cambridge: MIT Press.

Carney, M.A. 2017. “Sickness in the Detention System: Syndemics of Mental Distress, Malnutrition, and Immigration Stigma in the United States.” Stigma Syndemics: New Directions in Biosocial Health, Lerman, S., Ostrach, B, and Singer, M. (eds.). Landham: Lexington Press.

Carney, M.A. 2014. “La Lucha Diaria”: Migrant Women in the Fight for Healthy Food. In Women Redefining Food Insecurity: Life Off the Edge of the Table, Janet Page-Reeves (ed.). Landham: Lexington Press.

Courses Taught

  • ANTH 696: Feminist Medical Anthropology Lab
  • ANTH 480/580: Food, Health & Migration
  • ANTH 610: Mediterranean Migrations
  • ANTH 353: Anthropology of Food
  • ANTH 325: Bodies in Medicine
  • ANTH 605: Qualitative Research Design & Proposal Writing

Areas of Study

Western US


Research Interests

Transnational and gendered im/migration; dispossession and displacement; critical perspectives on food and im/migration; migrant health (structural dimensions); food systems and food insecurity; biopolitics and microbiopolitics; social organization of care, caring labor, and social reproduction; affective dimensions of neoliberalism and psychosocial wellbeing; anthropology of crisis; transnational feminism.