I am a global historian currently focusing on southern Africa in the late twentieth century, with a broader interest in Africa's long-term historiography. I am interested in the ways that global and transnational connections have both impacted Africa and been shaped by it.
My work considers the contingent nature of historical production, and the self-consciousness with which historical actors develop their legacies and sometimes silence alternative narratives in the process. A vital element of this is the creation of personal, political archives, and the agency of archival sources in impacting and shaping events, interpretations, and the historiography. I favor the particularity of micro histories as threads for tracing the broader tapestry of global developments.
I have an interest in depictions of local or State corruption in relation to institutionalized global corrupt practice; authoritarianism and State control of people, animals, and the environment (for instance through censorship and through the use of identity numbers and documents); cartography and other technologies of envisioning space and those who occupy it; intertextuality; the history of science, particularly Africa’s place in it; the deceptions of memory; the cult of celebrity; the deployment of psychology and the category of the ‘normal’ by authoritarian States; the political impact of secret organizations; race, history, and epigenetics; and, broadly, ethics.