Welcome! Karibu!

Thank you for visiting my website. I am a PhD candidate in comparative government (comparative politics) in Georgetown University’s Department of Government. My dissertation research examines the development of Kenyan and Tanzanian language policies and their influence on how Kenyans and Tanzanians understand and identify with their nations. Please scroll down or click on the following links to visit my teaching, dissertation research, other research, and CV pages to learn more about my work. I am on the academic job market and looking for positions for the 2021-22 academic year.

Teaching

At Georgetown University, I have worked as a teaching assistant for four semesters (fall 2016 – spring 2018) and led discussion sections for the large, introductory lecture courses in comparative politics and international relations. I was nominated for the Graduate School’s Outstanding TA in the Social Sciences award in 2017. I am committed to excellence in teaching and continue to refine my teaching skills as I work toward the completion of our on-campus Center for New Designs in Research and Learning Teaching’s Apprenticeship in Teaching Program certificate.

I previously taught English to Form I (8th grade) and Form II (9th grade) students at Majengo Secondary School (2011-12) in Moshi, Tanzania.

Language Policy and the Nation in East Africa

My dissertation research examines the development of Kenyan and Tanzanian language policies–the regulations governing the use of different languages in the educational system, legislative debates, broadcast media, political campaigns, and other areas–and their influence on how Kenyans and Tanzanians understand and identify with their nations. In 2019, I carried out qualitative research for 11 months in Kenya and Tanzania, including semi-structured interviews with more than 160 Kenyans and Tanzanians, ethnographic observation, and archival research in Kenya National Archives, the Tanzania National Archives, and other collections. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced me to continue my research. including additional interviews, remotely. I am currently working with in-country research partners to plan a multilingual, phone survey experiment to examine several empirical implications of my qualitative research.

I would like to thank the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the American Political Science Association, the Georgetown University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Georgetown University Department of Government, the African Studies Association, the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa, the Institute for Humane Studies, and the Cosmos Club Foundation for their support of my dissertation research.

Ongoing Research

I have presented my in-progress research at major research conferences including the annual meetings of American Political Science Association, African Studies Association, African Studies Association of Africa, the Midwest Political Science Association, and the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa.

Based on my dissertation research, my working paper “Beyond the National Language: Multilingualism as a Marker of Belonging in Kenya and Tanzania” examines the evolution of Kiswahili’s status as the sole state-recognized national language in both Kenya and Tanzania and how the persistence of multilingualism challenges the “one nation, one language” nationalist paradigm.

My research interests extend beyond the politics of language(s) policy to the related language of politics. My working paper “Not All Dominoes are Created Equal: Analogical Reasoning and the U.S. Response to the Zanzibar Revolution” is a close, archival study of how U.S. diplomats and analysts used the analogy of Zanzibar as an “African Cuba” and the metaphorical logic of the domino theory in making sense of the unexpected 1964 Zanzibar Revolution. I am grateful to the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation for funding my archival research at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.

Copies of either or both working papers are available upon request.