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Dr Joanne Tomkinson

Postdoctoral Researcher

Joanne recently completed a PhD in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS, University of London. Her thesis is a comparative political economy examination of the challenge of late development in the age of neoliberalism in Ethiopia and Vietnam.

Her research looks at the role of the state in the development process, the dynamics and political economy of structural transformation, and the impact of global conditions on national development strategies. 

Joanne has a master’s degree in Development Studies from SOAS, and a BA in English Literature and Philosophy from the University of York.


Prior to the PhD, she worked in policy and communications roles in the international development sector for six years, most recently at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford. She has also taught international political economy at SOAS. 

​Joanne’s research for the African State Architecture project examines the role of airport buildings and infrastructure in national development strategies. She thinks about the airport as a symbol of a country's ambitions regarding its place in the world and explores what the form and function of these gateway structures can tell us about African state-building efforts. 

Jo's empirical focus is on Ethiopia and Ghana's main airports. The recent expansion and rebuilding of these, and the relationship between them, is the basis for exploring developmental aspirations and status, pan-African and international relationships and agency. 

Possible comparators include Rwanda and Botswana (like Ethiopia, often referred to as ‘developmental states’) and Kenya and South Africa (each with markedly different development strategies).

See Jo's articles here.

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