My substantive research has focused on sexual and reproductive health (especially HIV/AIDS and fertility control) in sub-Saharan Africa, with particular attention to the cultural, social and institutional dimensions of public health interventions. I am also interested in the dynamics of broad economic transformation and rural household survival in Africa, and in the evolving functions of international development and humanitarian assistance. I have worked in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, South Africa, Ethiopia and South Sudan with an international array of colleagues in public health, agriculture, demography and religious studies, and have done historical work in Canada. My work has been primarily qualitative, with an emphasis on open-ended interviews, personal narratives and textual analysis.
More broadly, I am interested in the unintended consequences of social change. What are the unexpected and unanticipated results of the things we do to improve our lives and the world around us? I am also interested in how people imagine the worlds they live in. What ideas, values and visions do we use to interpret our experiences and to strategize our actions, both individually and collectively?