Since early 2021 Katharina Graf is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology at Goethe University Frankfurt. As principal investigator of her new ethnographic research project Cyborg Cook – Domestic Cooking in the Digital Age, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), she investigates the cooking practices of domestic households in Frankfurt am Main and the surrounding region. At the core of this research are – apart from the preparation of food itself – the reproduction of knowledge in the context of digitalisation, the relationship between humans and machines, as well as negotiations of gender, race and class.
Previously, Katharina Graf was a postdoctoral research fellow and principal investigator at the SOAS Food Studies Centre, University of London, where she carried out a research project on The Price of Bread as a Measure of Urban Stability, funded by the AXA Research Fund. Through ethnographic research she explored the linkages between governmental policies to ensure food security and everyday food practices in the context of political instability. She followed bread along the food chain, from urban consumers as bread makers via the distribution and processing of wheat, back to its production in the agricultural hinterlands of Marrakech and Beni Mellal, and found that especially homemade bread is key not only to everyday food security but also to political stability in Morocco and the region.
In 2016 Katharina Graf finished her PhD dissertation, titled Food in the Making, at SOAS University of London and supported by the Stiftung der Deutschen Wirtschaft (sdw). Based on twelve months of fieldwork in Marrakech, during which she learned to prepare food alongside three domestic cooks and their families, she investigated the interrelations between material and social change and cooking knowledge. She found that despite new kitchen technologies and women's emancipation, which alter food work and the domestic division of labour, the knowledgeable preparation of food remains a key factor in the (re)production of everyday family life.
Before joining SOAS University of London in 2010 as a graduate student in the MA Social Anthropology programme, Katharina Graf obtained a Diplom (equivalent to an MSc degree) in Geography at the universities of Tübingen, Bonn and Cologne with a thesis titled Drinking Water Supply in the Middle Drâa Valley. As part of the interdisciplinary GLOWA/Impetus project of the universities of Bonn and Cologne, she studied the drinking water supply in two communities in rural southern Morocco through hydrological and ethnographic research and found that local options for action had to adjust to increasing water scarcity and growing institutional constraints.
Between 2014 and 2018 Katharina Graf also taught and supervised undergraduate and postgraduate students at SOAS University of London and, since 2020, at Goethe University Frankfurt. She is furthermore associate book reviews editor for the FoodAnthropology Blog of the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN), American Anthropological Association, and a member of various academic associations such as the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), where she co-convened the Anthropology of Food Network between 2017 and 2018.