Link to a recent curriculum vitae
My work focuses on between population rates and social practice. How are individual actions coordinated into stable population rates? Do population rates have causes? What roles do individual intentions and strategies play in the formation of rates? What is the social structure of intentions? How is this structure transformed by the experience of pervasive uncertainty? I approach these questions using a combination of ethnographic and demographic methods and informed by the theoretical approaches of Quetelet, Weber, and Bourdieu. The empirical object of my work is kinship, and particularly reproduction: childbearing, contraceptive use, abortion, infertility, and infant mortality. Until recently, all of my work had been in sub-Saharan Africa (especially Cameroon, but also Burkina Faso and Kenya). I am currently working on reproduction in the United States, inspired by my association with the Explaining Family Change project.
In fall 2006, I am teaching Demography/Sociology 126, Social Consequences of Population Change and Demography 260a, Formalism and Uncertainty. My office hours are Wednesday 2-4 in room 210.
I am appointed in the Department of Demography and the Graduate Group in Sociology and Demography and affiliated with the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.
My first book is called Uncertain Honor: Modern Motherhood in an African Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 2006). Some recent and forthcoming articles include: When the future decides (Current Anthropology 2005), Education, ethnicity and reproductive practice (Population, 2003), and Natural intentions (American Journal of Sociology, forthcoming).