My work focuses on religion in southern Africa, but encompasses several major themes. I am interested in the political influence of religious traditions and practices, the history of millenarian movements in relation to broader society, the use of supernatural “technologies” (prayer, sowing seeds of faith, witchcraft, etc.) to navigate and succeed in modern life, and the impact of globalized capitalism on religious ideas and communities. Fundamentally, I seek to understand how people respond to world-breaking catastrophes, both historically and currently, and how that affects their constructions of subjectivity as well as their social and political configurations. The works of Pierre Bourdieu, along with Jean and John Comaroff, drive much of my thinking on genealogies of habitus-formation and challenge me to consider the role of agency in all this mess. I also have a healthy interest in African literature, science fiction, African science fiction, and historical European intellectual treatments of Africa and Africans.
In more concrete terms, I come from Granite City, Illinois (a steel mill town outside of St. Louis) and have lived in several parts of the U.S. before settling in sprawling, humid, beautiful Houston. I conducted graduate research in Zambia and worked briefly in the South African government before beginning at Rice, but I look forward to returning someday for dissertation research.
M.A., Wake Forest University, 2012
B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010