ABOUT

kristen_phillips

I am a sociocultural anthropologist who studies citizenship, development, and social change in East Africa. I am specifically interested in how people in contemporary African contexts organize politically, engage policy structures, and vie for voice and economic resources amidst other everyday pursuits of livelihood, human connection, and meaning. I have conducted ethnographic and historical research in the drought-prone Singida region of central Tanzania since 2004.

The research for my first book, An Ethnography of Hunger: Politics, Subsistence, and the Unpredictable Grace of the Sun (2018: Indiana University Press) was supported by fellowships from Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad, the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) program, the Spencer Foundation, a two-year predoctoral residential fellowship at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Michigan State University. Production costs were supported by the Mellon Foundation, Emory College of Arts and Sciences, and Emory’s Laney Graduate School. Other publications based on this research appeared in leading journals–African Studies Review, Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR), Comparative Education Review, Critical Studies in Education—as well as several edited volumes.

In a new collaborative research project with environmental anthropologist Erin Dean (New College of Florida), I am exploring the development of renewable energies (solar, wind, and biofuel) in Tanzania. The project traces the actors, institutions, values, and trends that are driving energy practice and policy in Tanzania today, and the way these are shaping new landscapes of energy and gender in rural, island, and peri-urban Tanzania. The project draws on the anthropological literatures on energy, infrastructure, gender, and development to analyze the gendered politics of infrastructure; the interconnections of place, space, and energy; and the old and new political, social, and economic forms being powered by renewable energies in postcolonial Africa.