Prior to joining the School of International Development at UEA I was a lecturer with the Centre for Civil Society in the Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics. I have also taught at the Institute for Commonwealth Studies in London, and have worked for the World Bank in their Poverty Reduction Research Group. As a graduate student I interned for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Democratic National Committee. I am currently guest faculty at the Centre for African Studies at the University of Copenhagen. I have also served for the past five years on the governing council of the Development Studies Association.
I have BA in History from the University of Cambridge and an MA in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University. My PhD was in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics. My doctoral thesis was awarded the William Robson Memorial Prize. After my PhD I took up a post-doctoral fellowship with the Danish Social Science Research Council before joining the University of East Anglia.
‘A More Receptive Crowd than Before’: Explaining the World Bank’s Gender Turn in the 2000s,
in Progress in Development Studies
pp. 172UEA Repository
Looking Good: Mediatisation and International NGOs,
in European Journal of Development Research
pp. 176–191Full Text UEA Repository
Pentecostalism and Development in sub-Saharan Africa: In the Office and in the Village,
in Pentecostalism in Africa : Presence and Impact of Pneumatic Christianity in Postcolonial Societies.
ISBN 978-90-04-28187-5Full Text UEA Repository
The making of meaning: Churches, development projects and violence in Eastern Uganda,
in Journal of Religion in Africa
pp. 74-95Full Text UEA Repository
Beyond faith-based organizations: critiquing recent work on religion and development,
in Third World Quarterly
Instrumental, narrow, normative?: Reviewing recent work on religion and development,
in Third World Quarterly
pp. 1291-1306Full Text UEA Repository
Colonialism and civil war: religion and violence in East Africa,
in The Blackwell Companion to Religion and Violence.
ISBN 978-1405191319UEA Repository
Bridging the divide: reviewing the Katine community partnerships project,Full Text UEA Repository
Book review: African Pentecostalism: an introduction by O. Kalu,
in The Journal of Modern African Studies
pp. 632Full Text UEA Repository
Beyond the state in rural Uganda,
Edinburgh University Press
ISBN 9780748635191Full Text UEA Repository
The Teso insurgency remembered: churches, burials and propriety,
pp. 500-516Full Text UEA Repository
Book review: Inside West Nile: Violence, History and Representation on an African Frontier by Mark Leopold,
in Cahiers d'Études africaines
pp. 188-190Full Text UEA Repository
Book review: The Illusion of Cultural Identity by Jean-Franois Bayart,
in Nations and Nationalism
pp. 347-349Full Text UEA Repository
in Encylopedia of Politics and Religion.
Congressional Quarterly Press
ISBN 978-0-87289-323-8Full Text UEA Repository
The church in the village, the village in the church: Pentecostalism in Teso, Uganda,
in Cahiers d'Études africaines
pp. 497-517Full Text UEA Repository
Bringing religion back in: religious institutions and politics in Africa,
in Journal of Religion in Africa
pp. 239-243Full Text UEA Repository
Key Research Interests
Social Development, Civil Society; NGOs; Rural Livelihoods; Religion; Christianity; Pentecostalism; Local Politics; Government; Africa; Uganda; Teso.
Research Groups: Politics, Governance and the State
My work looks at institutions and their significance in processes of development and change. I am particularly interested in organizations working at the local level such as churches, non-governmental organizations, courts, and institutions organized around family or social obligations and their relationship to government. My regional expertise is on sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on the Teso region of eastern Uganda.
I am currently working on a British Academy funded mid-career fellowship. The project is titled ‘Educating institutions: A study of the influence of educated young women and men on local politics in Uganda’ (MD\170053) and looks a generation of young men and women in the Teso region of eastern Uganda who are the first in their family to go to school. In particular I examine the effect this generation is having on local institutions – school committees, church groups, village courts, burial societies. What are the political entailments of education? Does education open up new paths to becoming influential? Does it help to reconfigure gender relations? Do educated youth approach politics in new ways? Available research on education in the developing world focuses on its economic impact, or on the spread of modern attitudes, particularly among male urban youth. Less is understood about the political consequences of education, or about the transformations taking place with the arrival of educated young men and, more especially, women, in the countryside.
I have recently completed a major research programme looking at the way different donor organisations make sense of their commitment to the norm of gender equality. The programme is based at the Danish Institute for International Studies. My case study looked at the World Bank and its changing relationship to the role of gender in development. My findings pointed to the way new methodologies in the field of development economics – impact evaluation, behavioural economics, randomized control trials – changed the way the World Bank thinks about gender. You can read some of the findings in a new issue of Progress in Development Studies and an edited volume coming out with Palgrave.
Earlier work looked at the after-effects of a violent insurgency in the Teso region, and discussed the role of churches, burial groups and village courts in making sense of this history of violence. My book Beyond the State in Rural Uganda won the 2009 Elliott P. Skinner Book Award by the Africanist section of the American Anthropological Association. And reviews of Beyond the State included the following:
'A refreshing and original antidote to the myopic habits of conventional scohlarsihp, an illuminating, astute, against-the-grain study of real-existing development', Prof. James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology, Yale University.
I have written for The Guardian newspaper about their Katine development initiative, and have contributed to their Global Development website. At present I am authoring a series of articles looking at the media, development and the particular experience of people living in Katine sub-county in the years after the project ended. I have an article in the European Journal of Development Studies on the role of media in NGOs, and have an article coming out with the journal Journalism looking at the relationship the developed between journalists and NGO workers.
I welcome applications for doctoral research, with a particular interest in proposals that use ethnographic work to explore examples of political and social change in the developing world. Please contact me by e-mail if you would like to discuss further.
Current PhD Students
Marc-André Boisvert: Military culture in Mali: tracing the coup and collapse of 2012 (UEA studentship)
Francesca Chiu: Citizenship and housing in Mandalay (funded by a studentship from UEA and the University of Copenhagen).
Jonathan Franklin: Environmental NGOs in Tanzania (ESRC studentship)
Qudra Goodall: Gender and everyday Islam among British Muslims in Norwich and Norfolk (ESRC studentship)
Stéphen Huard: Local politics and land in rural Myanmar (UEA Studentship)
Touseef Mir: Intgreation of ex-combattants in Srinigar Kashmir (UEA Studentship)
Sugandha Nagpal: Gender, religion and migrant projects in rural Punjab (UEA studentship)
Kara Sheppard: Education and female identities in a mixed secondary school in Arusha, Tanzania (ESRC studentship)
Hailing Zhao: The new politics of civil society in southern China (UEA studentship)
Completed PhD Students
Fariba Alamgir: Ethnicity, conflict and land in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (funded by a studentship from UEA and the University of Copenhagen). Fariba was awarded a writing-up grant by the Foundation for Urban and Regional Studies
Hannah Atkins: Contingent futures: navigating aspirations among the Banyole of Uganda (UEA studentship)
Juliet Colman: How social relations and identities are reconstituted through consumption in Botswana
Harry Greatorex: Patronage for revolutionaries: the politics of community organising in a Venezuelan township (ESRC studentship)
Will Monteith: Power, negotiation, place: an ethnography of politics in Nakasero market, Kampala (UEA studentship). Will was awarded a writing up grant by the British Institute for East Africa
Samuel Rushworth: Learning to live together: education, identity and citizenship in Rwandan schools (ESRC studentship)
Brendan Whitty: Negotiating results: subject positions and discursive practices in DFID’s grant-giving (UEA studentship)
Daniel Wroe: 'What can I do?’ Living with doubt and uncertainty in the Central Region of Malawi. (ESRC studentship)
I teach on the following modules:
- Introduction to Social Anthropology (year 1)
- Sub-Saharan Africa (year 2)
- Engaging Anthropology in Development (year 3)
I have also recently taken on responsibility for the Research Skills Workshop for first year PhD students along with Laura Camfield and Maren Duvendack.
I have taught at Copenhagen University, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (University of London), Roskilde University and the London School of Economics. I have also served as Guest Faculty on Brown University’s International Advanced Research Institute in “development and inequality in the global south”.