(Head of Department)
My research is interested in interrogating the role played by popular culture in Africa. Arguing that popular cultures are crucial in helping to locate agency and power in society, my research explores a number of related avenues in the field.
First, my research is interested in the idea of public culture. Here, I am interested in the ways in which dominant cultural ideas around gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity and race circulate in the media. The argument maintained in this aspect of my research is that by tracking the discursive formations of these ideas, one is not only able to locate how power functions in specific societies, but is also able to see the different ways in which such ideas become internalized and reproduced in alternative avenues.
Related to the above research trajectory, is my interest in the idea of the ‘Archives of the ordinary’. Here, I argue that in emerging African democratic spaces such as Kenya, the way in which information circulates is often affected by a dominant state presence that interferes with its circulation. As such, the study of the ordinary, everyday spaces as archive provides one with a different view of how cultural discourses circulate. My work destabilizes the idea of a singular dominant archive as centrally located in recognizable institutions (of power). In order to develop this line of argument, I use the idea of alternative media, and expand my site of research from mainstream media (radio, print media) to new media (Facebook, Twitter, discussion forums, blogs and chat rooms).”