I’m a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford. My current research focuses on digital inequality — how the ubiquitous digitization of our everyday lives is leaving people behind and what people are doing to fix it at a 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. I work with people who are closing the digital divide from the bottom up, in their communities. As an anthropologist, I use ethnographic methods to study (1) community networks (internet networks owned and operated by local communities) and (2) the role of public libraries in providing free digital services — in an effort to develop more human-centered approaches to and policies for access to technology.
Beyond my research and policy projects, I’m a writer, audio producer, and (highly amateur) graphic designer. 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 the use of open source and free software and tools. As creators, performers, and researchers, our work is based on engagement with societies, communities, institutions, and individuals who deserve access to the raw data and empirical understanding we build together. Knowledge and the authority to interpret what we know should not stay locked in an ivory tower. 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.
In a past life, I did 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.
Research interests: community internet networks, autonomous infrastructure, human rights in the information society, the environmental impact of the internet, the political economy and geopolitics of information and communication technologies