I am an Associate Professor in political science (MCF-HDR) at the University of Paris Nanterre and a researcher at the Institute for Social Sciences of Politics (ISP).
My research is inscribed in the field of International Political Sociology, with a focus on Africa. I study Africa as a location that allows us to think differently about war, technologies as well as the market and politics.
In my first research (Living by the Gun in Chad, Zed Books 2016), I studied armed violence and conflicts and established an agenda for thinking about the place of violence in both politics and society. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Chad, my research shows why war is part of the modern, day-to-day framework of politics in Chad as well as in so many other countries around the world. I pay particular attention to the routine forms of violence that mark the “inter-war”, the times and spaces in which war seems to be suspended.
In my follow-up research, I have delved further into both the historical and transnational ramifications of armed violence in Chad and the Sahel. Exploring the role of the former colonial power, I point to an irony: seen from Chad, France has a violent and conflict-ridden history too.
My most recent work (supported by the Institut Universitaire de France) examines identification technologies and biometrics in Africa. The spread of biometrics, undoubtedly boosted by security and anti-migration policies, is now also deployed in the name of development and democracy. More than half of the countries in Africa have already adopted biometrics as a way of identifying voters. How have fingerprints and face recognition algorithms come to be linked with democracy? Based on a multi-sited fieldwork conducted across the United States, Europe, and Africa, this research examines the role played by vendors, donors, and African political elites in the development of biometric voting. It retraces the trajectory of a technology promoted as a solution both to ‘crises’ and to the supposed failures of elections.
Beyond my daytime job, I am on the editorial board of Cultures & Conflits, an International Political Sociology journal published in Paris.
I received my PhD at Sciences Po Paris in 2009. Prior to my appointment at the University of Paris Nanterre, I was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.
In 2021-2022, I was a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. I am the recipient of the 2017 CNRS bronze medal, French national distinction for the most promising early career researcher in their field.