skip to content

Focus of the visit:

  • Biometric technologies in global information governance

  • Mechanisms for collaboration between Cambridge, Wits, and intra-African research hubs

  • Capacity development for AI and data science in Africa

  • Policy questions in knowledge infrastructure: private, public and open data


About Professor Keith Breckenridge's 

Professor Keith Breckenridge is Deputy Director of the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (Wiser), and one of the editors of the Journal of African History.  He writes about the cultural and economic history of South Africa, particularly the gold mining industry, the state and the development of information systems. He studied at Wits and Johns Hopkins and completed his PhD at Northwestern in 1995.   
His book Biometric State: the Global Politics of Identification and Surveillance in South Africa, 1850 to the Present (Cambridge, 2014) 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.  In 2017 the book was awarded the inaugural Humanities Book Award by the Academy of Science of South Africa. 
With Simon Szreter (University of Cambridge), he edited Registration and Recognition: Documenting the Person in World History (OUP and the British Academy, 2012), a volume of essays which examines the workings and failures of civil registration in twenty different regions and periods around the world.


About Professor Keith Breckenridge's visit to Cambridge

Please contact the Programme Manager (Sara Serradas Duarte, if you would like to meet Professor Keith Breckenridge during his visit to Cambridge.



This edition of the GCC Global Visitor's Programme is funded by a EPSRC GCRF Institutional Award.

Welcome to Cambridge Global Challenges

Cambridge Global Challenges is the Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a particular focus on the poorest half of the world’s population.


Join the Interdisciplinary Research Centre

Register to Cambridge Global Challenges and to the IRC's mailing list here.


Learn about the support we provide 

Learn how Cambridge Global Challenges can support your research here.


Contact us​