Projects

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]

System Change Africa: Evolution not revolution

Finding an African way of dealing with African urbanism: Complexity theory and systems thinking show how governments and people can work together to achieve something that neither could ever achieve alone. The legacy of modernist planning and the garden city movement has imprinted its mark on how we plan, design and develop cities worldwide. It … [Read more]

Land Restitution and the Moral Modernity of the New South African State

The purpose of this project is to conclude a book-in-progress, entitled “Land Restitution and the Moral Modernity of the New South African State”. Given land restitution’s explicit mandate to redress the historical injustices of the old state, this state-driven process is crucially concerned with fusing the “formal rationality” of the former apartheid state with a … [Read more]

Lithium-ion batteries and the commercialization of science – a narrative

The project is to write an autobiographical narrative about the research and development of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries from a research curiosity to practical reality. The introduction of lithium-ion technology in 1991 coincided with the onset of the consumer electronics revolution and the need for compact and light batteries to power cell phones and laptop computers. … [Read more]

A Social History of Democratic South African Told in Nine Lives

The book I am writing is a social history of the first two decades of South African democracy. Its outstanding methodological quality is to show that statecraft can be studied with unusual analytical power, not via a frontal examination of public institutions, but through the study of ordinary lives over time. The narrative foundation of … [Read more]

“Access of Individuals to the African International Justice”

At the continental level, various legal instruments adopted within the framework of the African Union ((AU) guarantee a certain number of human and peoples’ rights. At the sub- regional level, the Constitutive Acts of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) guarantee, in a similar way, some rights to individuals or enterprises. At the same time, several … [Read more]

Generation, Democratization and Gang Violence in the Shanties: Haiti and South Africa

In this project, I seek an opportunity at STIAS to write several chapters of a book based on a comparative account of the nexus between violence and democracy in two shantytowns in Haiti and South Africa. The project builds on a series of transdisciplinary studies of violence that combine multistage quantitative and ethnographic data over … [Read more]

Democratic Governance, Corruption, and Corruption Control Mechanisms in Africa: A Comparative Study

The 1990s were the starting point in the wave of new multiparty democracies in Africa. Since then, the ideas and practices of liberal democratic elections and those about the peaceful transfer of powers through electoral processes and citizens’ participation have been spreading out and consolidating in many countries, despite some recent observed regressions. Expectations have … [Read more]