I am a critical human geographer interested in the cultural politics of new social welfare innovations in the global South. My work sits at the intersection of development studies, economic geographies, African studies, and postcolonial/feminist science and technology studies.
My current project, Taken for Granted, explores how a preeminent, state-sponsored cash transfer program has become a means of dispossession in post-apartheid South Africa. I examine the everyday practices by which poor, Black South Africans, navigate their entitlements to social assistance against the pressures of expropriation built into the payment system. This research represents the first ethnography of social welfare payment in democratic South Africa.
I am currently a PhD candidate in geography at UC Berkeley. My research has been supported by the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Fulbright Foundation. At Berkeley, I have also been supported by the Institute for International Studies and the Centre for African Studies.
In addition to my doctoral work, I am a consultant for the Black Sash, supporting their efforts to design a new social grant payment system. Likewise, my ethnographic research has formed the basis of reports to the South African Constitutional Court, the National Credit Regulator, and the Banking Association of South Africa. I have also written numerous op-eds for GroundUp, a community newspaper, and provided research support for Cutting Edge, an investigative news show.