Almost anything that isn’t grown is, ultimately, mined. I have been fascinated by mining my entire life, by the idea of a vast subterranean world beneath our feet, invisible from the surface. I am mostly interested in the people who did the mining and in histories of labour, race, migration and global connections.
Much of my research has looked at the Zambian Copperbelt. My doctoral thesis was about the white migrants who came to the Copperbelt in the twentieth century and I have written extensively on white mineworkers on Zambia’s copper mines. I am in the midst of preparing a book manuscript based on my thesis provisionally titled In a Class of their Own: White Mineworkers on Zambia’s Copperbelt.
My doctorate was supervised by Jan-Georg Deutsch, a kind and wonderful man who tragically passed away in December 2016. Following his memorial service, I wrote a short piece on his teaching and what he meant to his students.
Aside from my doctoral work, my research has primarily been on these three projects:
- Rethinking White Societies in Southern Africa
- Global History of Copper
- Mineworkers’ Union of Zambia Archive
More broadly, I am interested in African economic history and participate in the African Comparative History of Occupational Structure, which aims to create comparative datasets on the historical occupational structures of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. My contribution, unsurprisingly, is data and a chapter on Zambia.