Thandeka Cochrane

Thandeka Cochrane

  • Alumni
  • South Africa
  • 2015 PhD Social Anthropology
  • Magdalene College

Born in Cape Town to a South African father and a German mother, I have always been deeply aware of how culture affects the way in which we think and value knowledge. Throughout my undergraduate degree at the University of Cape Town I was drawn to exploring the ways knowledge is deeply implicated in relations of power, where certain knowledges and ways of knowing are privileged over others and the impact this has on addressing questions of inequality and social injustice. As a Commonwealth Scholar at doing an MPhil in Intellectual History at Cambridge, I explored the ways in which Scottish Enlightenment thought impacted upon narratives around slavery and emancipation in nineteenth century South Africa. After completing my Cambridge MPhil, I decided to shift my focus from history to anthropology, with the desire to be involved in more engaged academia. For my MSc in Social Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam I conducted three months fieldwork in Malawi studying Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in rural villages and the ways in which these centres are embedded in asymmetrical power/knowledge relations which privilege outside and ‘expert’ knowledge above that of the community. During my PhD at Cambridge I hope to further explore the ways in which unequal power/knowledge constructions are embedded in ‘development’ focused literacy projects, by examining the import of children’s fantasy and fairytale literature into rural communities and the asymmetrical relations of power within which these are embedded.

Previous Education

University of Amsterdam
University of Cambridge