Research

Research Interests

Critical carceral studies, law and society, global politics, and feminist and postcolonial theory


Book Project

Creating and Contesting Empire: The Colonial Legacy of Policing in Tanzania

My current book project reframes contemporary policing in Tanzania as a colonial legacy. I examine the colonial roots and postcolonial persistence of policing to theorize the relationship between the police, state, and society. Using previously classified archival data and contemporary news and human rights reports, I trace the development of the police and state in former Tanganyika to present-day Tanzania. The book project is structured around three within-case studies of policing in three time periods: 1) the period of formal British colonization in Tanganyika (1919-1961); 2) the decade leading up to Tanganyika’s transition to independence (1950-1961); and 3) the contemporary period under the late President John Magufuli (2015-2021). The colonial and postcolonial police not only sought to establish a hierarchical order to maintain state control and extraction, but the police created the state itself. Policing institutions persisted over time because of this inseparable relationship with the state, which extended colonial technologies and practices into the afterlife of empire. Without understanding the police as a colonial legacy, we remain ill-informed about the purpose and growth of policing over time. This book project offers context for understanding how police shape racialized, classed, sexualized, and gendered state control today.


Current and Upcoming Work

Peer-Reviewed Publications:

“‘Police fire on rioters’: everyday counterinsurgency in a colonial capital.” Small Wars & Insurgencies. 2021.

“Women’s Rights and Critical Junctures in Constitutional Reform in Africa (1951-2019),” with Aili Mari Tripp. African Affairs 120 (480): 365-89. 2021.

“Replication Data for: Women’s Rights and Critical Junctures in Constitutional Reform in Africa (1951-2019),” with Aili Mari Tripp. Harvard Dataverse, V1.

In Progress:

“The Colonial Origins of the Police and Policing Sex in Tanzania”

“‘A Challenge to Law and Order’: Contesting Police, Empire, and State in Tanganyika”

“Does the Prison Industrial Complex Exist in African Contexts?”

“The Incomplete Single Story of a Homophobic Africa”

Other Publications:

Degrowth: Less Resource Use for More Wellbeing and ResilienceGeorgetown Journal of International Affairs with Susan Paulson, May 2021.

How to Count What Counts: TIS the Season for Syllabi Metrics?International Studies Quarterly with Michael Tierney, March 2016.

How Does Aid Impact Democratic Change in Africa?AidData Blog: The First Tranche, August 2014.


Select Awards and Honors

Mellon Wisconsin Fellowship, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Summer 2021

Institute for Legal Studies Law and Society Graduate Fellowship, Law School, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2020-2021

Summer Initiative Funding Award, Political Science Department, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Summer 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

Student Research Conference Travel Grant, Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Funding in the Graduate School, University of Wisconsin–Madison, April 2019 and August 2019

Scott Kloeck-Jenson International Internship Fellowship, Institute for Regional and International Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Summer 2019

Hyde Dissertation Research Award, Center for Research on Gender and Women, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Summer 2019

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, Summer 2018

Jordan Prize for year’s best graduate paper on Africa, African Studies Program, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2017-2018

African Studies Summer Fieldwork Award, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Summer 2017

Elections Research Center Fellowship, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2016-2017