Modernities: All of my research has in some way addressed the cultural construction of modernity and its role in identity construction in the global arena. I have focused on in-between cultural spaces in which people consume across culture and migrate between identities. My recent storage research aims to deconstruct claims to modern rationality in the US by demonstrating the everyday transgressions of the person-thing dichotomy in the everyday life of the home.
Material Culture: Especially in cross-cultural flows or other boundary transgressing situations where conventional value schemas are no longer reliable. I am currently working on storage, which is space constructed outside of cultural classification and so a zone of value transformation.
Migration: African migrants in Europe, cyclical migration, African perspectives on migration from the home country. I am particularly interested in the ways in which migration can be a form of consumption and the consumption of foreign objects a form of vicarious travel.
Magicality and Witchcraft: Particularly as these entangle with or infect cosmologies of modernity and North Atlantic rationalities. My most recent trip to Côte d’Ivoire explores digital sorcery and international social media scams.
Semiotics, Affect, and Efficacy: I investigate semiotics primarily from the angle of their efficacy within socio-cultural action. Performatives, fixative memorialization, contracts, ritual transformation, healing and cursing, money and value transformation. Recently, I have become interested in thinking about the role of affect in semiotic efficacy.
Urban Sociality and Popular Culture: My Africanist work explores emergent forms of culture that emerge in quickly expanding and highly mobile cities where ethnicities, class, languages, global commodity flows, music, and ideologies of modernity imbricate with one another in creative processes of bricolage.
- Jean Illi : Héritages coloniaux en Belgique : Etude des processus de construction réciproque de l’espace public et des identités postcoloniales.
- Zoé Van Herstraeten : Mens sana in corpore cyborg : an ethnographic study of connected watches aficionados' subjectivity
Promoteur - Recherche Postdoctorale
2012. The Modernity Bluff: Crime, Consumption, and Citizenship in Côte d’Ivoire. University of Chicago Press.
2019 “L'hospitalité des hoarders : Accumulations et relations dans l’espace domestique aux États-Unis’” in L’Homme 3-4 (231-232): 111-134
2019 “Ethnography in a Shell Game: Turtles all the way down in Abidjan,” in Cultural Anthropology 34(3): 299-327
2018 “The Affectiveness of Symbols: Materiality, Magicality, and the Limits of the Anti-Semiotic Turn,” in Current Anthropology 59(1): 1-22.
2017. “Uncontained Accumulation: Hidden Heterotopias of Storage and Spillage,” in History and Anthropology, 29(1): 37-41.
2014. "The Matter of the Unfetish: Hoarding and the Spirit of Possessions" in Hau: The Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4(3): 185-213.
2013. "Brands as Masks: Public Secrecy and the Countefeit in Côte d’Ivoire," in The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19(1): 138-154.
2013. "Le Goût des Autres: Ivoirian Fashion and Alterity," in Etnofoor 24(2): 41-57.
2009. “Enregistering Modernity, Bluffing Criminality: How Nouchi Reinvented (and Fractured) the Nation,” in The Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 19(2): 157-184.
2009 “Godrap Girls, Draou Boys, and the Sexual Economy of the Bluff in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire,” Ethnos 74(3): 379-402.
2007. “Pentecostal Witchcraft: Neoliberal Possession and Demonic Discourse in Ivoirian Pentecostal Churches,” Journal of Religion in Africa 37: 461-490.
2006. “Estranged Belongings: A Moral Economy of Theft in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire,” Anthropological Theory 6(2): 179-204, editor Joel Robbins.
2005 “Migratory Modernity and the Cosmology of Consumption in Côte d’Ivoire.” In Migration and Economy: Global and Local Dynamics, edited by Lillian Trager, pp. 163-192. Walnut Creek: Altamira Press.