- Bachelor of Arts, Bryn Mawr College, 2003
- Doctor of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania, 2011
My research centers on the ethics and politics of intervention in the global South. Broadly, I take interest in how the growing presence of foreign humanitarian, development, and scientific projects in sub-Saharan Africa reconfigures local social geographies, producing new kinds of status, mobility, expertise, and exclusions.
I am writing a book that examines how the social relations, diverse interests, and everyday practices that comprise foreign-led AIDS survey research projects in Malawi affect the kinds of knowledge claims they make about the epidemic. I explore, for example, the consequences and contradictions of accumulative “giving and taking”—of information, blood tests, informed consent, and so on—in survey research encounters between “insiders” and “outsiders” in Malawi. I also show how research projects that return to Malawi to collect data year after year become important sites of social mobility for the young Malawians they hire as fieldwork supervisors and data collectors.
I am engaged in a second project that critically examines the specific conditions of production and circulation of “African homophobia,” a pressing concern in the contemporary transnational imagination. I suggest that the recent rise in homophobic speech, attacks, and legislation in sub-Saharan Africa is symptomatic of anxieties that take form amid increasingly dire social, political, and economic conditions. I take interest in how “homophobia” becomes a discourse through which individuals and groups negotiate questions of redistribution, autonomy, governance, and economic dependency.
In the past, I have taught Medical Anthropology, Anthropology of Epidemics, The Anthropology of Good Intentions, and Postcolonial Technoscience. This year at Oberlin, I am teaching Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Culture Theory, and Empires of Science and look forward to teaching courses on the anthropology of global health, humanitarianism, science studies, and transnational sexualities.
I grew up in New Jersey, but I’ve spent most of the past decade in Philadelphia and Malawi. I enjoy running, marine life, and airport ethnography.