Ph.D., M.A., Johns Hopkins University
B.A. Columbia University
I am a historian of twentieth-century Africa with particular interests in connections between economic life and social and political belonging. How do people form relationships and make plans in the context of shifting and often ambiguous official and bureaucratic structures? How, and how much, do these institutions shape their lives and ideas? I am also interested in how evidence about Africa is used by governments, academics, and international actors. What kinds of knowledge and analysis are privileged in official and scholarly circles? What social and political processes shape data collection and interpretation?
Currently, my research focuses on how Ghanaians have related to a variety of institutions and practices labeled "development" from the colonial period to the present. I am interested in how the accumulated experience with development initiatives has shaped social and political life. I am revising a book manuscript that traces these issues through stories of labor, authority, and family in one northern Ghanaian town
I teach widely on topics in African history, from the earliest human migrations to the present. My research and teaching stem from a desire to bring the curiosity and analytical rigor of history into broader conversations in academia and international policy. I am deeply committed to conversations across disciplines, and I frequently write and present to audiences in African studies and development studies.