Michael J. Price Lab for Digital Humanities

Price Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow

Lisa Poggiali


Lisa Poggiali is a socio-cultural anthropologist whose research explores how visual technologies are marshaled to make political claims about peoples and territories, especially in colonial and postcolonial Africa. Her current book project, entitled Developing Code: Aspiration and Exclusion in Kenya's Silicon Savannah, follows digital coders, bloggers, geospatial activists, development workers, and government actors in Kenya's capital city of Nairobi as they collectively -- though unevenly -- translate into geospatial software platforms their dreams, desires and fears about socio-economic development in a nation fractured by histories of class and ethnic inequality. 

Her work appears in journals such as Cultural Anthropology and Africa, as well as the edited volume, Digital Media and the Future(s) of Democracy, forthcoming from University of Pennsylvania Press. She received her Ph.D from the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University in 2015, and she held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Penn's Program in Democracy, Citizenship and Constitutionalism in that year. Her research has been financially supported by institutions such as the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Fulbright-Hays, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. 

While at the Price Lab, she is particularly interested in expanding the digital archive of Africa, and in exploring how digital humanities tools such as topic modelling can help her analyze how colonial mapmaking practices produced particular configurations of governance. She is also looking forward to teaching a class that grounds the theories and practices of digital mapmaking in a collaboratively executed community engagement project.