Professor & Department Head
Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Arizona, 1998.
As an applied socio-cultural anthropologist, my research endeavors deal with an array of themes from small-scale oasis farming through international migration and resource management to information and communication technologies for development. I have carried out ethnographic research in Morocco, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and the United States and my areas of theoretical interest are development, poverty, globalization, applied anthropology, economic anthropology, and political ecology.
Over the years, I have been investigating the social and economic effects of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in Morocco, particularly ways in which mobile phones accommodate and redefine the cultural and economic strategies of rural and urban users and micro-entrepreneurs. The widening of the circles of those affected by mobile phones has empowered a large portion of the masses to participate in the new economy. Use of mobile phones means not only more technical skills and upward social mobility, but also competing investment strategies and the erosion of boundaries and exclusivities that previously defined economic and social relationships among communities and social actors.
Previous research I have undertaken investigated the effects of international standards, or globalization, on traditional olive oil production technologies used by small-scale farmers in southern Morocco; the commodification of ethnicity; community-based resource management; the relationship between ethnic stratification and agricultural intensification; and the impact of international migration revenue streams on patterns of power relations among Berbers (Imazighen), Arabs, and Haratine (Blacks) in southern Morocco.