I am a medical anthropologist and an assistant professor in the Health, Care and the Body research group. My research is concerned broadly with the politics and practice of public health and I have conducted most of my research in the West African city of Dakar, Senegal.
My most recent research revolves around two parallel projects. The first is a book that uses visual media (cinema, West African AIDS videos, diagrams, murals and public art) to analyse the transformation of postcolonial Senegalese into ‘publics’, imagined to have specific characteristics, dispositions and aspirations. Challenging the idea that “good communication” involves breaking through what is doubtful or undetermined, I argue that global health has much to learn from everyday communication and artistic production in Dakar, a city famous for its residents’ expressive annotation of public space.
The second strand of my research concerns everyday eating and the emergence of chronic disease in Dakar. This research has focused on how chronic disease is changing how people procure, prepare and share food in the city. I’m increasingly interested in investigating a proposition made by people I work with in Dakar, that the emergence of chronic disease in the city can be best understood as a ‘food crisis’. What does this framing do to our understanding of the social, ecological, political and relational conditions in which food crises originate, and the kinds of policies that might mitigate or meliorate them?
To better understand these issues my work increasingly seeks to connect kitchens, markets, clinics and households with key sites where food is produced and transformed.