My research focuses on the ways Gulf corporate investments in land are reshaping quotidian social relations between landless and landholding stakeholders in the Gezira region of central Sudan. Between 2016 and 2018, I conducted fieldwork in several communities along the Eastern Blue Nile, in local courts, at investor conferences and in the zawiyas of prominent Sufi sheikhs, who are mediating and shaping land disputes that have emerged out of this context. I am interested in understanding the social transformations put in motion when different forms of religious and political authority, understandings of Islam and notions of belonging are invoked and mobilized to lay claim to land. I argue that focusing ethnographic attention on land contestations and on the infrastructure that encloses large-scale agribusiness projects, provides insights into the ways Gezira residents and their sheikhs are contesting and negotiating the convergence of neoliberal reforms and particular Islamic state policies, in their daily lives.
Before coming to Stanford, I received my BA in Socio-political Development Studies from Harvard University in 2000 and my MA in Comparative International Education from Teachers College in 2009. I also worked at Grassroots International-an organization dedicated to supporting the promotion of land and water rights-and taught in the U.S. and in Tanzania.