My research focuses on digital media, health, and gender in West Africa. Using participatory action research methods, my dissertation explores how sexually stigmatized communities in Senegal navigate sutura – the Senegalese ethic of discretion or modesty – amid changing digital media practices. Anxieties about social media “oversharing” of intimate life are displaced onto members of queer and sex working communities. Marginalized for their online presence, those perceived as sutura’s “digital dissidents” articulate potent alternatives approaches to pressing tech policy issues.
A co-creator of many-to-many.net, an open-source storytelling platform, I am interested in tech design logics that facilitate the equitable creation, circulation, and archiving of ethnographic knowledge. I bring this experience to the Alternative Digital Futures project at Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC). This project aims to amplify Senegalese sex workers’ perspectives on inclusive approaches to digital privacy protection, providing funding for them to reach the international audiences they wish to reach without jeopardizing their sutura.
My research has been supported by a Newcombe Fellowship, the Social Science Research Council, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, a Fulbright scholarship, Berkeley’s Center for Global Public Health (CGPH), and a Digital Humanities at Berkeley Collaborative Research Grant.