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Hilary Chart

Hilary Chart's profile photo

Hilary Chart

Research Interests: 
Experiences of flexible/insecure labor in urban Africa, the economic imaginaries of microenterprise projects and entrepreneurship education, and business as a cultural production


Hilary’s work is concerned with the shifting livelihoods that sustain (and fail to sustain) African cities, and the ways in which these exploit and refigure relations across differences of gender, class, ethnicity, and generation. Broadly speaking, her research examines a) experiences of flexible and insecure labor; b) the economic imaginaries that enliven life strategies, development projects, and workforce education; and c) the contested moral and political logics—including those of wages and welfare—that enforce resource distribution and its attendant inequalities. Entitled “Becoming Business People: Emergent and Contested forms of Entrepreneurship in Urban Botswana,” Hilary’s dissertation project focuses on the efforts of those promoting and pursuing microenterprise ventures amidst capitalist transition and high unemployment. Her methodology attends to all those affective, material, and spatial practices that support claims of entrepreneurship to recognize how “doing business” entails and effects far more than what is typically acknowledged in strictly economic analyses. Hilary grew up in northern Minnesota, holds a BA in cognitive neuroscience from Harvard, and earned her MA in international education policy from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education.