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My current book project is about human-rodent encounters in Tanzania as sites for constructing theories, traps, and training techniques that unsettle dominant understandings of who is and can be human in the 21st century. These are, to borrow from Sylvia Wynter's work, "counterhuman" interventions. The counterhuman also gestures at an attempt to theorize the human rooted in traditions, histories, and experiences based on the African continent.
This project focuses on rodent traps as material and theoretical inventions that help people figure out how best to live with and kill rodent pests in Tanzania. I analyze the design and creation of rodent traps using concepts and terminology borrowed from Maker communities, and challenged by Tanzanian trap designers. This work helpfully questions what words like technology and innovation mean when considered within the creative contexts of Tanzanian rodent trap design. The material will be published in the forthcoming volume, The Promise of Multispecies Justice (Sept. 2022), edited by Sophie Chao, Karin Bolender, and Eben Kirksey.
Steam Inhalation & COVID-19
This ongoing study is part of a larger collaboration on "contested truths around COVID-19 in Africa." My contribution to this research group focuses on digital publics in Tanzania and their engagement with steam inhalation (kujifukiza) as a COVID-19 therapeutic. This project was a way for me to learn some programming and apply it to social or cultural analysis. This kind of work is sometimes called "digital scholarship" or "digital humanities."
World Without Clouds -
An experimental, collaborative, speculative film that considers anthropological themes for a future without clouds. The story revolves around five anthropologists in the years 2045-50 who are trying to save clouds from going extinct.
We blend storytelling and academic scholarship in a way that refuses easy categorization into individual-authored research. We ask what kinds of new (cloud) formations might appear in the future. We flirt—critically—with possible anthropological logics that are rooted in century-long practices of ethnographic documentation and salvation. We invite you to engage with our story.