Todd Sanders

Todd Sanders

Todd Sanders, Ph.D. (London School of Economics)
Associate Professor, Mississauga Campus (UTM)

(905) 828-3778
Office: HSC 390 (Main), AP 334 (St. George)

Research Keywords: Politics of knowledge; audit, transparency and accountability; witchcraft and the occult; interdisciplinarity and expertise; science and policy; energy; natural resources and extractive industries.

Research Region: East and Southern Africa, United Kingdom


Research Bio

Todd Sanders moved to Toronto in 2004 from the University of Cambridge, where he was a University Lecturer in Social Anthropology, Member of the Centre of African Studies and Fellow of Wolfson College. He has also taught at the London School of Economics, the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of California Santa Barbara and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Sanders’ research is concerned with the production and politics of knowledge. His early work focused on African and Euro-American knowledge practices, and (often) their entanglements. This led to projects on ritual, witchcraft, rainmaking, conspiracy theory and discourses of global governance. In recent years, he has dwelt increasingly on Euro-American knowledge practices and knowledge-making institutions. See below for selected publications; a longer list can be found here.

Sanders is currently working on two collaborative projects with Elizabeth F. Hall, a public health physician and epidemiologist. The first considers the diverse interdisciplinary knowledge practices that underpin global change science, and the real-world contexts that enable and enfeeble those practices. It asks how different natural and social sciences produce policy-relevant knowledge about our changing climate, and how, in turn, those sciences are shaped by the contexts of relevance in which they operate.

Building on their interests in science and policy, Sanders and Hall recently initiated a five-year SSHRC-funded project on fracking in Britain. While British decision-makers, scientists, energy companies, fractivists and the public debate fracking, key decisions hinge on evidence produced through scientific, legal and bureaucratic evidentiary regimes. The project interrogates those regimes and the everyday practices that constitute them. The ultimate aim is to understand how democratic decision-making institutions deal with the scientifically-, morally- and politically-complex questions posed by energy in the 21st century.

More on these projects and their collaboration can be found here.

Dr. Sanders has received numerous awards and prizes, and research fellowships from the Economic & Social Research Council (UK), London School of Economics & Political Science (UK), National Institute of Mental Health (US), Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (US), Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (Canada) and Norwegian Research Council.



2014. Anthropology in Theory: Issues in Epistemology. 2nd Edition, co-edited with H.L. Moore. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

2008. Beyond Bodies: Rainmaking and Sense Making in Tanzania. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

2006. Anthropology in Theory: Issues in Epistemology. co-edited with H.L. Moore. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

2003. Transparency and Conspiracy: Ethnographies of Suspicion in the New World Order, co-edited with H.G. West. Durham: Duke University Press.

2001. Magical Interpretations, Material Realities: Modernity, Witchcraft and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa, co-edited with H.L. Moore. London: Routledge.

1999. Those Who Play with Fire: Gender, Fertility and Transformation in East and Southern Africa, co-edited with H.L. Moore & B. Kaare. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Recent Articles

In Press (with E.F. Hall). ‘Openness.’ In: Words and Worlds: A Lexicon for Dark Times (eds) Veena Das and Didier Fassin. Durham, NC: Duke University Press

2016 ‘The pendulum swings.’ HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 6(1), 493-498.

2016 (with E.F. Hall). ‘Interdisciplinarity, climate change, and the native’s point of view.’ Items: Insights from the Social Sciences. SSRC journal. Feature Theme: ‘Interdiscipinarity Now.’

2016 (with E.F. Hall). Fracking Big Ben: science, policy and fractivism in the UK.’ Practicing Anthropology 38(3), 59-60. Special issue on Activism, Agency and Engagement with Extraction.

2015. (with E.F. Hall.) ‘Accountability and the academy: producing knowledge about the human dimensions of climate change.’ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 21(2), 438-461.

2015 (with E.F. Hall). ‘Is there hope for an Anthropocene Anthropology?’ Anthropologies 21 (journal hosted by Savage Minds).

2014. ‘The making and unmaking of rains and reigns.’ In The Anthropology of Climate Change: An Historical Reader (ed.) Michael Dove, pp. 276-297. Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell.

Graduate Students

Aakash Solanki

Elisabetta Campagnola