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Dr. Nina Sylvanus

Dr. Nina Sylvanus is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Northeastern University. She is a political and economic anthropologist whose work centers on capital and labor, value and aesthetics, infrastructure and technology, and, more broadly, critical transformations in the neoliberal global economy. Her regional specialism is West Africa, specifically China-in-Africa, and its impact on the world at large. Sylvanus received her doctoral training in Anthropology and African Studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. She held a postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA before taking up her first teaching position in the Anthropology Department at Reed College. She joined Northeastern in 2010.


Sylvanus is the author of Patterns in Circulation: Cloth, Gender and Materiality in West Africa (University of Chicago Press, 2016), a study of the dense materiality and rich signifying qualities of African print cloth – which, she shows, offers a cogent theoretical and methodological frame for understanding colonial and postcolonial patterns of value production and exchange.


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