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Dr Charlotte Cross

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Professional biography

I joined the Open University in February 2016 as a Lecturer in International Development. Prior to this I lectured in International Relations and Politics at the University of Northampton. I hold a PhD in Development Studies (Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex), an MSc in African Studies (University of Oxford) and a BA in History and Politics (University of Oxford). 

Research interests

My research concerns politics, security and development, with a particular focus on East Africa. I am interested in the role of 'informal' institutions in local governance, the politics of development, and the policing of political and economic change. 

My current research, 'Securing Africa's Mobile Revolution: Political and Social Dimensions of Cyber Security in Tanzania', funded by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, investigates the connections between increased digital connectivity and security in the daily lives of residents of urban Tanzania. I am interested in how users of mobile phones and the internet experience and understand the security implications of new technologies, and how security providers construct and act upon narratives of cyber security and cybercrime as part of broader processes of social and political ordering. This project reflects my broader interests in urban policing, the plurality of institutions engaged in providing urban security, and their connections to politics at different scales. 

My previous research on community policing and sungusungu vigilantism in Tanzania has informed my interest in how ideas drawn from or about the past are repurposed by different actors as part of the pursuit of development. I am co-editing a book that considers diverse articulations of the role of heritage in development, and critically explores the implications of attempts to instrumentalise the past for 'progress'. 

I am also working with colleagues in Kenya, India and Tanzania to explore Innovation for Cancer Care in Africa. We are investigating how linking innovation in the industrial and health sectors might improve access to cancer care in Kenya and Tanzania. 

Teaching interests

I am currently involved in producing our new MSc Global Development and am chairing production of DD872 Researching Global Development. I am also involved in teaching DD102 Introducing the Social Sciences.