Eleanor Marchant is the ConflictNET Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, where she works primarily on research around the politics and practice of the internet and social media in generating or preventing conflict in East Africa, including such topics as hate speech, misinformation, internet connectivity, and the role of international technology companies in the region. This research is part of the ConflictNET project, a multi-year ERC grant-funded endeavor run by Dr Nicole Stremlau to examine the implications of increasing access to the internet in delicate conflict-prone contexts.
Eleanor received her PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania in April 2018, where her supervisor was Dr John L. Jackson Jr, the incoming Dean of the Annenberg School. Professor Monroe Price, Dr Guobin Yang, and Dr Jonathan Donner also served as committee members and mentors.
Her research brings a deep-dive anthropological perspective to the relationship between the internet, rapidly changing new technologies, and the African societies that shape and are shaped by them. Eleanor’s doctoral work illuminated the experiences of those at the forefront of shaping the modern technological landscape in East Africa. It is an empirically rich anthropological exploration of the experiences of the entrepreneurs, investors, and programmers designing, building, and funding new communication technologies in Nairobi, Kenya. For it, she conducted an extended multi-year ethnography of Nairobi’s tech sector, based out of the most well-known technology community hub in Africa, the iHub. Her thesis provides an insightful analysis of the internationally engaged nature of technology production on the African continent, and the technological and cultural narratives that shape, and at times inhibit, that work.
Prior to joining CSLS, Eleanor has been a research fellow at the Center for Global Communications Studies and the University of Pennsylvania, the Annenberg Research Network on International Communication at the University of Southern California, and both the iHub and the Media Institute in Nairobi. Eleanor also brings a practitioner’s perspective to her research, drawing on six years working as a media investment and development practitioner with a focus in the West and East African regions for both Media Development Investment Fund and Freedom House, and through consultation work with organizations like UNESCO and the World Bank.
BSc., Economics and Politics, Bristol University, Bristol, UK.
MA, International Relations, New York University, New York, USA.
MA, Communications, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
PhD, Communications, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.