Projects

Acknowledgment, denial and collective memories of mass atrocities: comparative perspectives

Recent decades have witnessed systematic efforts to build institutions in response to mass atrocities, a “justice cascade”, and an unprecedented wave of apologies by heads of state. Simultaneously, denial is rampant, at times strategically planned in response to acknowledgment, and supported by a calculated reluctance to intervene. The proposed project explores comparatively struggles between acknowledgment … [Read more]

It takes two: Theoretical and clinical advances in vulvodynia from an interpersonal perspective

Vulvodynia is a chronic pain condition that is characterized by recurrent vulvo-vaginal pain that does not have an identifiable cause. With an estimated prevalence of 8% in the general population, this pain negatively affects women’s and their partners’ overall quality of life, including their psychological, relationship, and sexual well-being. In vulvodynia, the pain interferes with … [Read more]

From Sovereignty to Property (and back): The spatial transition of colonial and developmentalist claims over land

Central to the question of land grabs around the world is a tension between the sovereignty of States – and its internal manifestation in the form of eminent domain – and the property rights of individuals and communities.  It is through such state action that land grabs are made possible – long term leases, land … [Read more]

A Place to Call Home: A comparative study of the urban housing boom in Luanda and Nairobi

Despite their very different political and economic contexts, both Luanda and Nairobi have experienced housing booms and urban property bubbles over the last fifteen years.   Both also exhibit the “extreme splintered urbanism” found in other urban landscapes across Africa, where sprawling informal settlements with inadequate housing and services border new middle class suburbs.  This study … [Read more]

Re-Urbanism in Africa: Building Master-planned, Holistically-designed Satellite Cities

Large-scale property developers have recently embarked on a far-reaching strategy designed to reshape the existing spatial configuration of many cities in Africa. If these strategies are successfully implemented, major metropolitan areas in Africa will be fundamentally restructured to more explicitly serve the interests of property-holding elites and satisfy the desires of the leisure-consuming classes. What … [Read more]

Dog-human correlations in post-Soviet and post-apartheid literature and film

My research project falls into the interdisciplinary field of human-animal studies and deals with the discursive formation of human-dog correlation in socio-political discourse. It is a comparative investigation of narratives, primarily literature, film, and media, which represent and problematize the dynamics of cultural perceptions of dogs and human-dog interactions in post-communist post-Soviet and post-colonial post-apartheid … [Read more]

Falsified Medicines. What the public says and professionals know – knowledge exchange providing a basis for actions

The project focuses on falsified medicines – a growing health problem affecting both developed and developing countries. Falsified medicines range from mixtures of toxic substances to ineffective products. They may be adulterated with corn starch, heavy metals, brick powder, amphetamines, ink or wall colour. Some drugs look so similar to the genuine product that they … [Read more]

Archaeology of a Hungry Mind

Why and how did we (Homo sapiens) evolve into a species that is dependent on its ‘brains’ rather than its ‘brawn’ for our survival and successful spread across the globe? This is an old question, but recent archaeological and palaeoanthropological finds in sub-Saharan Africa, together with breakthroughs in ancient-DNA and palaeo-neurology, are dramatically changing what … [Read more]

Rethinking immigrant integration in a mass-migration era: migrant families in comparative perspective

In our era of mass migration, understanding migrant families’ efforts to forge and maintain meaningful social and civic ties is more important than ever. Building upon my ethnographic work on Cameroonian migrant mothers in Berlin (Mothers on the Move: Reproducing Belonging between Africa and Europe, University of Chicago Press, 2016), this book project comparatively rethinks … [Read more]

The Power of Injury: Memory, Decolonization, and the Challenges of Modernity in Africa

This book examines the political and social effects of Africa’s prioritization of the experience of colonization in its response to the world, and analyzes the role of Nelson Mandela’s notion of forgiveness in Africa’s inevitable path to modernity. It has been customary to suggest colonialism, imperialism, racism, and other abstract isms, as responsible for Africa’s … [Read more]