Colloquium Series: Crystal Biruk, Oberlin College
Cooking Data: Culture and Politics in an African Research World
Crystal Biruk is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Anthropology at Oberlin College. Her forthcoming book, Cooking Data: Culture and Politics in an African Research World, traces the social lives of quantitative health data in Malawi, showing how research cultures mediate the production of statistics in ways that impact local economies and formulations of power and expertise. Her current project draws on ethnographic research with an LGBT-rights NGO in Malawi’s capital city to explore how the convergence of human rights activism, “African homophobia,” and the AIDS industry provides LGBT-identifying people novel avenues to capital, health, and social and economic inclusion. The project unsettles normative tropes mobilized by US-centric queer theory to represent and understand queer African projects and identities.