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Biopolitics of Water

As a post-doctoral fellow with the Center for Global Health at the University of Virginia (UVA) I explored how lack of access to water-related infrastructure influences perceptions of citizenship. The unique geopolitical setting of the rural Vhembe district (the former Bantustan of Venda) offered a stark contrast to recent literature on citizen-state dynamics related to urban water technologies. In Vhembe, both traditional and civil authority structures continue to exist concurrently, resulting in uniquely South African forms of biological citizenship, which I termed water citizenship. With my colleagues in the School of Medicine at UVA, and Microbiology at the University of Venda, I also further expanded my work on the syndemics perspective arguing that social, historic, and political factors promote the abundant pediatric water-borne enteric diseases in the district.