College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Christopher Morris, PhD

Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology

Faculty Directory

Research Focus

My recent work particularly examines the environmental, indigenous, and spatial politics of contestation over biological resources in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The resources are removed and marketed around the world as medicines by multinational companies. My book manuscript on this subject highlights the complex relationship between the global governance of biodiversity conservation and commercialization, explosions in indigenous rights consciousness, and the role of foreign firms in local politics. In another recently completed study, I used interviews with medical doctors and researchers to examine a unique clinical trial in South Africa that assessed the safety and efficacy of an African traditional medicine in HIV-seropositive persons.

Select Publications

■ Morris, C. (2016). Royal pharmaceuticals: Bioprospecting, rights, and traditional authority in South Africa. American Ethnologist, 43(3), 525–539.

■ Morris, C. (2019). A ‘Homeland’s’ harvest: Biotraffic and biotrade in the contemporary Ciskei region of South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies, 45(3), 597–616.

■ Morris, C. (2017). Biopolitics and boundary work in South Africa’s sutherlandia clinical trial. Medical Anthropology, 36(7), 685–698.

■ Morris, C. (2013). Pharmaceutical Bioprospecting and the law: The case of umckaloabo in a former apartheid homeland of South Africa. Anthropology News, 53(10), 1-15.



Phone: 720-988-8763