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 conduct long term ethnographic research in Dakar, Senegal. My monograph Lines of Sight: Public Health in an African Image World (under review) examines how health authorities, filmmakers, Sufi urban artists, and public ecology activists in Dakar have communicated about the body and its publics. The book draws on cases of public health communication to trace the emergence, and fragmentation, of an imagined mass audience for public health and development interventions.
My more recent research in Dakar has focused on everyday eating in the city, specifically how the emergence of “new” chronic diseases is changing how urban households procure, prepare and share food. Investigating chronicities in Dakar I often heard people say that it was necessary to remake the Senegalese urban diet and to return to “traditional” foodways.
My current work focuses on the dietary and ecological futures embodied in one crop: millet. Around the world, millets are increasingly imagined as a panacea for ecological, economic and public health challenges. Healing bodies, restoring landscapes, creating climate-safe agricultural solutions, and challenging the dominance of rice, wheat and maize: millets promise healthy and sustainable futures. Drawing on ongoing fieldwork in Europe and West Africa, my research explores why millets have become globally iconic of reparative and restorative approaches to food and eating. In Senegal and elsewhere, encounters with millets stimulate critique of modern consumption. Reanimating the past, however, is not straightforward, and scientists, cooks and cultivators also experience ambivalence as they promote millets as the solution to interlocking economic, ecological and nutritional crises.
I coordinate an undergraduate Theme Course, the Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body. I also co-teach the course Theorising Practice, Practicing Theory on the Medical Anthropology and Sociology Masters Programme.