I am Professor of Globalization in the Department of Management, Society and Communication at the Copenhagen Business School. Before that I was Professor of International Development Studies and Director of the Doctoral School of Social Sciences and Business at Roskilde University in Denmark. I have been a Visiting Professor at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University in the US (2017-18) and at the Department of Sociology and International Relations at the University of Trento in Italy (2014).
I am American with a US education, but I have worked for nearly two decades in Denmark. I combine Scandinavian ‘cosiness’ and collaboration with American ambition. Trained as a political scientist from a top 10 American political science department, I have over 20 years of work on values and international politics of humanitarianism. My work draws on the disciplines of political science, anthropology, geography, social theory and media studies. I work unequally well in English, Danish, Italian and Swahili.
From global population policy to Ben Affleck’s work in Congo, I have examined the relationships between global values and local practices of ‘humanitarianism’ in five research programs. I served as founding Vice-President of the Global South Caucus, and Advisory Board Member of the Global Health Section, of the International Studies Association (ISA). I am also a member of the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies, Global Development, and the International Political Sociology Sections of ISA.
I am the author of the books Brand Aid: Shopping Well to Save the World with Stefano Ponte (2011), Population Politics and Development: From the Policies to the Clinics (2008), the co-editor with Stefano Ponte of New Actors and Alliances in Development (2014), and editor of Celebrity Humanitarianism and North-South Relations: Politics, Place and Power (2016).
My interdisciplinary research is on international aid politics, state-society relations, new transnational actors and alliances in the global South, development theory, global health and gender.
My training is from the Department of Population and International Health at Harvard University (post-doctoral research as a Mellon and Takemi Fellow), and the Department Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (PhD).
My research foundations come from Intersectional feminism from when the term was Kimberlé Crenshaw’s. I am an applied feminist. Theories are useful to me for helping me to understand my world and the way that my mind and the minds of others construct it. Many books have come into my life over time, and I am grateful for them all, but particularly for these:
Feminist Theory from Margin to Center: Bell Hooks
Absalom, Absalom: William Faulkner
Seeing Like a State: James Scott
The Anti-Politics Machine: James Ferguson
The History of Sexuality Volume 1: Michel Foucault
Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism: Chandra Talpade Mohanty
Some of my teachers and mentors:
Taught me how to engage curious students in the real world and to re-set Republicans.
Taught me how to surround yourself with good people and to combine high theory with practice in multiple realms.
Taught me how to put Africa at the center of your life and to value being an Africanist in political science where that is a marginalized identity.
This is my first monograph. Dissemination of this work in the communities that made it possible was complicated by the profit-driven world of academic publishing. So, I bought my own copyright back from Palgrave and gave it for free to Fountain Press in Uganda. We launched the paperback book in Kampala, Uganda and in Dar es Salaam and Moshi in Tanzania. Much of the findings had been presented along the way at seminars invited by TGNP and Soma Cafe and under the trees outside the village offices in Nshara. Researching and then sharing the book were
much more fun than writing it.
Here you see one of my fieldwork sites at the Regional Hospital in Morogoro Tanzania. After a hard day promoting family planning in the MCH clinic, we settled down to enjoy a mango and some statistics. These nurses were amazing and even removed a "funza" from my toe. If you really want to know what that means, you have to ask me.