I am anthropological archaeologist who studies the interplay between communities and the broader landscapes and networks that engulf them. My fieldwork in the Upper Senegal and Upper Niger regions of West Africa takes a multi-scalar approach to the history of village communities over the past thousand years–a period that witnessed long-term climate change, the rise and fall of medieval empires, the violence of the Atlantic slave trade, the spread of Islam, and ultimately, the imposition of colonialism. I also collaborate with the Undocumented Migration Project to study and call attention to the ways in which undocumented migrants experience the dangerous physical and political landscape of the US-Mexico borderlands.
Alongside my work in the field, I enjoy sharing the challenge—and the thrill—of archaeological research with others. As a field school instructor in Senegal, I have enjoyed working side by side with undergraduate students to unearth and think through evidence from megalithic cemetery sites. As an instructor, I try to bring the “field” to students on campus by exploring local museums and working directly with artifacts from past worlds—and from our own.