Associate Professor: Anthropology in the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics University of Cape Town.
Director: Environmental Humanities Initiative
In research and teaching since 2007, my work has explored the challenges of decoloniality and the indigenous knowledge movement for the sciences and social sciences in Southern Africa. That work led to the publication of Contested Ecologies: Dialogues in the South on Nature and Knowledge (Human Sciences Research Council Press, 2013) and Knowing the Day, Knowing the World: Engaging Amerindian Thought in Public Archaeology (Arizona University Press, 2013).
My current research and supervisions attend to fisheries policy, fracking, baboon-human relations, lobster ecology, rhino conservation, water management and plant medicine: looking specifically at the interconnections of modernist thought, coloniality, and the production of scientific authority. The work that graduates and I do in these fields traverses multiple modes of knowledge, both trans-disciplinary and extra-disciplinary, to explore case studies of how and where scientific knowledge and democratic decision-making connect — or not! The core course in which I teach this material is AXL5416: Science, Nature, Democracy.
A second and related interest is on climate disorder and life. “Anthropocene studies” is a new field in the social and natural sciences and in the environmental humanities, and one that enables us to think across disciplines in provocative and transformative ways — such as to explore the geological effects of law or personality disorders; or the effects of commercial agriculture on soil microbes and thus human futures; or the disjuncture between the timeframes of legal regulation (typically one generation, or a few electoral cycles) and the effects of fracking or nuclear waste which range from hundreds of thousands of years to perpetuity. The core course in which I teach this material is AXL5414: Researching the Anthropocene.
Working towards building southern theory in the environmental humanities, I head the transdisciplinary team "Environmental Humanities South" at the University of Cape Town, funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation and the South African National Research Foundation. The team includes colleagues in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Law, Sciences, Engineering, and Health Sciences, along with many graduate students from across the global south. For more information on that project, please see www.envhumsouth.uct.ac.za.