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International Scholar: Keith Breckenridge

Keith is an Associate Professor and the Deputy Director at Wiser. He writes about the cultural and economic history of South Africa, particularly the gold mining industry, the state and the development of information systems. In the1980s he studied at Wits and Johns Hopkins and went on to complete his PhD at Northwestern in 1995. His book — Biometric State: the Global Politics of Identification and Surveillance in South Africa, 1850 to the Present — shows how the South African obsession with Francis Galton’s universal fingerprint identity registration served as a 20th century incubator for the current systems of biometric citizenship being developed throughout the South. The book was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. He has also published quite widely on the history and contemporary politics of biometrics, with important papers in Africa, History Workshop, the Journal of Southern African Studies, Public Culture and comparative anthologies on systems of identification.

See http://wiser.wits.ac.za/users/keith-breckenridge