I’m a doctoral student in the Program on Anthropology & History at the University of Michigan and also work in the sub-discipline of Science & Technology Studies. I have an interest in the politics of knowledge within the international aid and development industry, especially the growth of experimentation. Secondly, building on research developed in South Africa and Kenya, I continue to follow the trends in surveillance — both political and commercial — on the continent and am co-organizing a special forum on the topic in the journal African Studies Review. Finally, my longer term project is on the historical and contemporary dynamics of regionalism in East Africa.
Before doctoral work, I was a Fulbright Scholar and research associate at the Centre for Social Science Research at the University of Cape Town. My research focused on the adoption of biometric identification by the welfare state in South Africa. I was also a 2012-2013 Fellow at UC Irvine’s Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion where I focused more particularly on the linkages between financial formalization and cash transfers in South Africa. With the support of Privacy International, I have looked more broadly at the adoption of biometric identification in Africa, as well as the rise of mobile surveillance across the continent. Other work has looked at the impact of mobile money and open data on personal autonomy in Kenya.
Previously, I was a researcher at infoDev, a unit of the World Bank focused on technology and innovation. I have an MSocSc in Sociology (Development Studies) from the University of Cape Town and a B.S. in Science, Technology & International Affairs from Georgetown University.
You can find me on Twitter: @kevindonovan.