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I am currently Fellow in Public Anthropology at the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland, and Honorary Fellow in Anthropology at University College London.

 

Prior to this, I was a post-doctoral researcher on a project entitled 'The Algorithmic State', jointly run by the Ada Lovelace Institute and the Centre for Digital Anthropology at University College London. This project examined the expansion of algorithmic decision-making systems across the public sector, from AI ‘streaming tools’ in use in immigration applications and predictive analytics in policing, to risk scoring systems to support welfare and social care decision-making in local councils. I conducted ethnographic research in Barking & Dagenham Council to understand the way new algorithm decision-making systems are being implemented in the borough to support welfare and social care in the wake of COVID-19. 

 

I completed my Ph.D. at University College London in March 2020, and my thesis traced the flows of material (and digital) things back and forth between Havana in Cuba and the diaspora in Miami. I explored how the movements of things conveys relationships of kinship, identity, gender, and class (amongst other things) back and forth across a highly reified geopolitical border, and between capitalism and socialism. As part of this, I followed smugglers (mulas) and specific items, and traced their trajectories between families, communities and nations across porous but patrolled borders to try to understand how people in contexts of exile and separation continue to 'construct' themselves and their life stories from afar, through material things. I conducted 16 months of ethnographic research in Cuba, Guyana, Panama, Mexico and the Cuban diaspora in Miami for this project, and my first book is an extension of this research, to be published with the University of Florida Press in 2021. 

 

In 2017-2018 I was Visiting Scholar at the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University, and I was previously a Stipendiary Lecturer in Portuguese at the University of Oxford. 

My research has won numerous prizes to date, including the Arthur Maurice Hocart Prize 2019 (Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland), the Roseberry Nash Prize in 2018 (American Anthropological Association), the Emslie Horniman Prize in 2017 (Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland), and a 3 year research grant from the Economic & Social Research Council.

 

In 2019 I was a Finalist in the BBC's New Generation Thinker Award, and I have since been featured on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, and the BBC World Service, discussing materiality, digital culture, the cultural construction of geopolitical borders, capitalism and (post)socialism. 

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Research Interests

  • Material consumption, circulation and exchange

  • Diaspora, transnationalism and borders

  • Identity and personhood 

  • Trust and moral networks

  • Archives, performing ‘the past’ and nostalgia

  • Digital anthropology

  • Sharing and ‘flows’

  • Anthropology of (post)-socialism

  • Anthropology of statecraft and surveillance