I am Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where I hold the Total Chair in contemporary African politics; and an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Cape Town.
My research is motivated by concerns about how political processes affect human development and dignity. I use original field work, experiments, interviews, case studies, and data analysis to better understand democratic governance; responses to risk and danger; the causes and consequences of mobilizing ethnic and national identities; and the relationship between technology and politics. In my research, I have investigated the politics of taxation, health, AIDS, education, census-making, and infrastructural service delivery.
I conduct most of my research in Southern and Eastern Africa, but I frequently work with students who specialize in other world regions.