I'm thrilled to announce that I have accepted a lecturer position in the Department of Geography at Durham University!
government Stakeholder meeting 17 November 2020
Deborah, David and I presented our report to the Department of Trade and Industry, National Credit Regulator, Department of Social Development and South African Social Security Agency.
Legal but reckless interest rates 29 october 2020
Check out our new Ground Up articleon the usurious interest rates charged on loans for social grant recipients. As the title says, such rates are legal but reckless.
Hunt fellowship 2 october 2020
I have been awarded the Hunt Postdoctoral fellowship to finish my book manuscript, Bantustan Banking: Debt, Race and Social Welfare. Check out the great work of other Hunt fellows too!
loan sharks feast 25 september 2020
Mwangi Githathu wrote a great article about our report. It was featured on page 6 of the Cape Argusand republished on IOL. Thanks Mwangi!
lenders prey on grant recipients 6 september 2020
I highly recommend reading James Stent's fabulous account of our report on debt and social grantees in Ground Up. Thanks James!
Challenging Reckless Lending 10 september 2020
I am thrilled to launch this reportco-authored with Deborah James and David Neves, mapping the landscape of social grant-based debt in nine cities.
Andrew w. Mellon Postdoc july 2020
I am very pleased to accept a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Geography at the University of the Western Cape.
The Human Cost of SA's Lending 13 February 2020
Check out my interview on debt and unsecured lending in Malcolm Rees' excellent Ground Up article. He covers the plight of social grantees, as well as all South Africans at risk of debt.
World Development Article February 2020
My article was just accepted by World Development! Thanks to Arun Agrawal and WD's reviewers for their generous support.
Reckless lending workshop August 2019
Just finished up a fantastic four-day workshop with the London School of Economics and the Black Sash on indebtedness and social grants. Stay tuned for our report on debt in nine cities.
Reckless lending Research Summer 2019
Funded by the London School of Economics, I conducted research into ongoing reckless lending to social grant recipients. Even under the new Post Office distribution regime, predatory lending continues.
dissertation fellowship 8 January 2019
"I never thought my research would begin with receipts -- the small, mundane slips of paper that list the things we've purchased, routinely printed by shop clerks, and carelessly crumpled in pockets or tossed in trashcans..." Read More Here
African Studies Conference 26 May 2018
I am very pleased to present "Life on an Installment Plan: Social Grants and Debt in South Africa" as part of a panel on Transformative Technologies. Please join me on May 26 at 4:00 pm at the Crowne Plaza Rosebank. Read More Here
Panel of experts research 18 February 2018
My research with the Black Sash is now part of a report submitted by the Panel of Experts to the Constitutional Court. This Panel was appointed by the ConCourt to develop a new national social grant payment system. Read theReport Here
Introduction to geography 14 november 2017
I just finished lecturing on debt and racial capitalism for our Introduction to Geography course. A big thank you to Jake Kosek who asked me to fill his very large shoes while he was away!
poverty, land & agrarian studies 16 june 2017
“'It’s like the lotto,' said a pensioner, 'sometimes I get little money and sometimes I get no money.' This conceptualization of the social grant system as a gamble would be heretical in contemporary development literature, which touts cash transfers as the “solution” to global poverty..." Read MoreHere
Intergenerational relations & grants 10 april 2017
Come hear me present a short paper on "Social Grants and the World Bank" at this workshop with UCT's Sociology Department, organized by Elena Moore. I am looking forward to sharing my work with other scholars!
daily maverick podcast march 2017
I am excited to beinterviewedby Kingsley Kipury today! Nomonde Nyembe of the Center for Applied Legal Studies at Wits and Koketso Moeti of Amandla.mobi are in the CliffCentral studio to offer their analyses of SASSA and the Constitutional Court cases.
Geographers annual meeting 1 april 2016
It's my AAG debut and I am presenting on a panel about how to think alongside the incomparable Gillian Hart. I'm engaging with her reading of Stuart Hall's concept of articulation to flesh out contemporary Eastern and Western Cape migrations.
rocca dissertation scholarship 2015-2017
The Center for African Studies funded every aspect of my PhD, from language study, pre-dissertation research, and dissertation research. Thanks Martha and Tami for your constant support and encouragement!
dissertation fieldwork grant 2015-2016
I am excited to announce that I am a Wenner Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grantee. The fellowship supports research that makes a contribution to the discipline of anthropology. This award will support my fieldwork in South Africa this year. Read More Here
john l. simpson dissertation grant 2015-2016
The International and Area Studies Institute at UC Berkeley provided me with generous funding for my research in South Africa. Pleased to announce I won the John L. Simpson award for fieldwork this year.
Society & Space 26 November 2020
I am so happy this is finally in print! Thanks to the Black Sash, Natalie Oswin and three reviewers for making this possible.
African studies annual meeting 20 November 2020
I am delighted to chair and present at a panel on Gender and Covid-19 in Africa. Please join me and my co-panelists for a lively, and totally online, discussion.
Lending to grantees is exploitative 2 NOvember 2020
Check out this fantastic UWC News article by Myolisi Gophe, profiling our report on reckless lending to social grantees. #IamUWC
Vicious Debt Traps 22 October 2020
This is a great piece in the Daily Maverick by Ufrieda Ho. She interviews Deborah and me to understand debt traps over the holidays.
The burning issue 29 September 2020
I spent an evening in studio with Yazeed Kamaldien on Voice of the Cape. We had a great discussion about the possibilities for decommodified loans based on Islamic banking.
reckless lending Webinar 10 september 2020
Click here to see our webinar and report launch, featuring Deborah James, David Neves, Lynette Maart, and the National Credit Regulator.
Covid-19 and social grants 1 september 2020
My first attempt at field research in an era of Covid! I worked with colleagues in the Eastern Cape and KZN to learn about the difficulties and benefits of the temporary Covid-19 grant.
I'm officially Dr Torkelson 18 May 2020
I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a PhD in Geography! Sadly, our ceremony has been postponed due to Covid-19.
National credit regulator 6 march 2020
Along with Lynette Mart and Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker, I presented research on predatory lenders and the social grant system to the National Credit Regulator.
Best Social Protection Papers 19 December 2019
Check out Ugo Gentilini's list of Social Protection Papers of the year! "Collateral Damages" is on it, along with other fine work.
geography colloquium 19 september 2019
I am presenting my work on social grant debt and sovereign debt at the UWC geography colloquium to honours and masters students. Excited for our conversation!
PRESENTATION At SALDRU 20 NOVEMBER 2019
On Wednesday, I'll be presenting my World Development article, at the South African Labor and Development Research Unit. Very excited to discus my work with such wonderful development scholars.
Economics For Africa 6 september 2019
Please join me at 11:45 pm this Friday for the panel Household Debt and Dispossession at the Rethinking Economics for African Conference. We are Session 3 under the theme of Economics and Human Rights.
Geographers annual meeting 5 April 2019
Stephen McIssac, Meredith Palmer and I organized two panels called: Health as "Fix": Geographies of the Biopolitical in Settler- and Post-Colonies. Please join us and our fantastic presenters on Friday afternoon!
reckless lending research summer 2018
I spent time with the Black Sash offices in PE and Cape Town, researching loan companies offering financial products to grant holders. We wrote up case studies about how grants are being used as collateral for loans.
Panel of experts, concourt 16 March 2018
Very excited to attend to this Meeting of the Panel of Experts with Lynette Maart and the Black Sash! We'll be discussing the creation of a recourse system for social grant beneficiaries, who experience abuses on their bank accounts.
grant grabs III: the green card 13 march 2018
I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the documentary crew that created this short film for Cutting Edge. Tune in to SABC 1 on March 27th @ 9:30 pm to see our work with EasyPay card holders in Ceres. I hope this film helps many people stuck in debt traps because of the grant system.
EasyPay research with the black sash summer 2017
I spent time with the Black Sash offices in PE and KZN to help beneficiaries cancel EasyPay cards. We wrote up a dozen case studies about the difficulties of navigating this techno-financial system.
has belamant answered his critics? 9 March 2017
"Net1 CEO Serge Belamant has hit back at critics of the company’s management of its contract with the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA), accusing them of conspiracy theories and political agendas. He has referred investors to an auditors’ report which “sets the record straight”. But does it?" Read Here
The world bank's role in SA's Grants 23 march 2017
"As the main South African investor in Cash Paymaster Services, Allan Gray has been under the spotlight over the social grants controversy. As a result, a bigger investor, the World Bank, has not received much attention..." Ground Uparticle
Sophia's impossible choice 16 March 2017
"When loan repayments left Sophia destitute, she had to beg a little money from her cousin and make a terrible choice. Either she could feed herself ant her six-month-old baby, or she could feed her 8 and 13-year-old daughters..." Ground Uparticle