Recent successful PhD defence at CAS by Dr Hannah Elliott – University of Copenhagen

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17 May 2018

Recent successful PhD defence at CAS by Dr Hannah Elliott

Hannah Elliott in conversation with external examiner, Professor Deborah James (LSE)

CAS was delighted with the highly successful PhD defence by Hannah Elliott earlier this spring, which took place on 28 February. Hannah's PhD thesis is entitled Anticipating Plots: (Re)Making Property, Futures and Town at the Gateway to Kenya’s ‘New Frontier’.

The project focused on the anticipation surrounding the proposed Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport corridor project (LAPSSET), a large-scale infrastructural development initiative that promises to transform the long-neglected region of northern Kenya into a ‘new frontier’ for economic growth. Between 2014 and 2015, Hannah conducted 12 months of ethnographic research in and around Isiolo town, a key node on the LAPSSET corridor, exploring residents’ responses to the proposed developments. These responses were most strikingly focused on what Hannah terms ‘propertying’ – collective and individual anticipatory practices through which residents claimed exclusive ownership of plots of land. The thesis examines propertying, the futures it held at stake and the way it worked to remake Isiolo town.

During the PhD defence, Hannah engaged astutely with the two external examiners, Professors Deborah James (LSE) and Vigdis Broch-Due (Bergen), and the committee chair, Associate Professor Karen Lauterbach (CAS), who each raised interesting and challenging questions while at the same time expressing their immense respect for her work. Hannah is currently a visiting researcher at CAS prior to taking up a post-doc position in September in a new project on tea and sustainability certification, based at the Copenhagen Business School.