George Armstrong George Armstrong


George Armstrong is a 2nd year Anthropology PhD student whose studies are supported by Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS) for Malagasy and Kiswahili. He studied in Tanzania and Madagascar during the summers of 2022 and 2023.

George’s research is based in the disciplines of environmental anthropology, ethnobotany, political ecology, African studies, food studies, and agrarian studies. His research is generally directed at the topics of medicinal plant supply chains and their connection with capacity building, and small-holder farming. Within these topics he is especially interested in local perceptions about inequality, development, droughts, resource governance, skilled labor, benefit sharing, and modern bioprospecting.

His dissertation project is based in Fort Dauphin and Ambovombe, Madagascar and is focused on the political ecology of the supply chain for the medicinal plant Catharanthus roseus (Tonga in Tanôsy Malagasy) which is used to make chemotherapy drugs listed as WHO essential medicines. His investigation follows the supply chain from farmers to cancer patients, and centers on surfacing Malagasy perspectives about equity, capacity building, food security, and increasing the accessibility of Catharanthus cancer drugs in Madagascar.

George is also preservationist for the now-retired PROTA Program (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa Program) in the Netherlands. At the ASP, he works with a small team of faculty, staff, and graduate students to fundraise and preserve PROTA’s unique online database PROTA4U which remains a useful tool for researchers interested in learning about African plants from diverse perspectives and sources.

George is in the process of starting a local, small organic farm with his family. In the past George helped teach organic farming workshops at the IU Campus Farm and interned at the IU/Deam Herbarium where he assisted on a botanical survey of Indiana flora. Before graduate school George worked as a portrait photographer.