I’m a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford. My current research focuses on digital inequality. The ubiquitous digitization of our everyday lives is leaving people behind, and I study what people are doing to resist and reimagine our digital futures at a local, grassroots level. As the internet becomes increasingly essential to the fulfillment of a well-rounded human life, exclusion from the internet due to lack of access or literacy exacerbates other forms of gender-based, racial, geographic, and socio-economic marginalization and disenfranchisement. As an anthropologist, I use ethnographic methods to work with people who are closing the digital divide from the bottom up, in their communities.
My current research focuses primarily on two topics: (1) community networks (internet networks owned and operated by local communities) and (2) the role of public libraries in bridging the digital divide for people living in data poverty. My work brings research into conversation with policy in an effort to develop more human-centered approaches to technology.
Beyond my research and policy projects, I’m a writer, audio producer, and (highly amateur) graphic designer, and I co-lead the creative collective Cherry Soup. I’ve produced a wide variety of podcasts with academic and non-academic partners, and I’m working on a personal podcast project now (stay tuned) as well as a compilation of essays on human-technological connectivity.
In all of the work that I do, I advocate open access to knowledge and active knowledge exchange between academia and local communities. Knowledge and the authority to interpret what we know should not stay locked in an ivory tower — our academic research is based on engagement with societies, communities, institutions, and individuals, and we have a responsibility to share the knowledge we create together in order to open it up for debate and critique. As Communications Director at the Oxford Human Rights Hub, I help to make human rights scholarship freely accessible to global audiences. I’m also proud to be part of the knowledge activism campaign Whose Knowledge?, which works to center the knowledge of marginalized communities on the web and raise awareness of the digital exclusions that keep the majority of the world from participating fully in digital knowledge creation and curation.
I completed my DPhil at the University of Oxford, where my dissertation focused on how mobility between online and offline spaces constituted a practice of resistance during and after the 2011 Egyptian revolution. I’ve written about the exclusionary geography of social media platforms in Cairo, and I’ll have more coming out soon on the digital dimensions of the post-revolution city.
I hold a B.A. at the College of William and Mary (Virginia, USA), where I completed a double-major in Government and Linguistics. After graduating, I attended the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship to read for an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies.
For sporadic essays critiquing and reflecting on digital technology, sign up to my Critical Tech newsletter.