I am head of department, and Reader in International Development in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS, University of London. An historian by training, I am a specialist in the history and politics of East Africa.
My research focuses on governance, development, civil society and associational life in East Africa, and can be grouped into two main, and inter-related, themes. The first is an examination of non-state actors in development and service provision in Africa, including non-governmental organisations, faith- and religious-based organisations, and informal associations and networks. My work in this area adopts an historical as well as contemporary gaze in seeking to understand the role and nature of the non-state voluntary sector in East Africa, and how states have sought to impose their control over non-state actors and broader development processes.
The second research theme examines the emergence of development narratives over the past century, and conflicts between different narratives held by competing actors operating in the developmental space. In particular, I am interested in the multiple roles which ‘development’ as a process and idea takes on, and synergies between power, politics and development in the North and South.
I also work on social aspects of health in Africa (with a particular focus on malaria and HIV and AIDS). I am also interested in issues around international health governance, and how the global governance for health architecture can constrain and even undermine efforts to promote broader health objectives in developing countries. Research in this area has looked at the history of malaria control and eradication; faith, religion and HIV and AIDS; and work on issues related to the current roll back malaria campaign.
I am an editor of the Journal of Eastern African Studies. I am a regular contributor of expert briefing reports on a wide range of political, social and health issues in sub-Saharan Africa, and have undertaken advisory work on areas within my expertise.
More interestingly, perhaps, and certainly with more photos, I have a food blog here: A Year at the Stove | The adventures of a family cook https://ayearatthestove.wordpress.com/