I am a human geographer interested in the collision between normative assumptions about cash transfers as public goods and the lived experience of cash transfers as private debts in the Global South. My work sits at the intersection of political economy, development studies, critical race theory, feminist kinship studies, and postcolonial science and technology studies.
My current project, Bantustan Banking, explores how a preeminent, state-sponsored cash transfer program has become a means of racialized and gendered dispossession in post-apartheid South Africa. I examine the everyday practices by which poor, Black South African women navigate their entitlements to social assistance against the pressures of expropriation built into the payment system. This research is among the only ethnographies of social welfare payment in democratic South Africa.
I am currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of the Western Cape, and will soon be a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellow as well (from Jan 2021). I completed my PhD in Geography at UC Berkeley (Spring 2020). My research has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Charlotte Newcombe Foundation and the Fulbright Foundation. I have also been supported by the Department of Geography, Institute for International Studies and the Centre for African Studies at UC Berkeley.
In addition to my academic work, I am a consultant for the Black Sash, supporting their advocacy for a Basic Income Grant. In this role, I have presented my research to the South African Constitutional Court, the National Credit Regulator, and the South African Social Security Agency. I have also written numerous op-eds for GroundUp, a community newspaper, and co-wrote a documentary for Cutting Edge, an investigative news show.