Nina Sylvanus

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
education Ph.D. Anthropology, 2006
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris.
Mailing address 210M RP
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Dr. Sylvanus’ work is concerned with the political economy of a West African marketplace in the small entrepreneurial nation of Togo and addresses questions of circulation, reproducibility, aesthetics, gender and postcoloniality. She has published articles in Anthropological Theory, Les Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines, Politique Africaine, Les Temps Modernes and African Studies Review. She is currently at work on a book manuscript entitled Print Value: Fashion, Trade and Gender in a West African Marketplace. At Northeastern, she teaches courses on “Postcolonial Africa,” “Consumer Cultures,” “Gender and Globalization,” “The Anthropology of Capitalism,” and “Foundations of Anthropological Thought.”

Selected Publications

Book Manuscript in Progress

“Print Value: The Dressed Body and its Economies in West Africa”

Forthcoming Publications

“Chinese Devils, the Global Market and the Declining Power of Togo’s Nana-Benzes”, African Studies Review, April 2013
“Fashionability in Colonial and Postcolonial Togo” in Karen Tranberg Hansen & Soyini Madison (eds.) African Dress: Fashion, Agency, Performance. Oxford: Berg. Spring 2013 2

Articles and book chapters

“Fakes: Crisis in Conceptions of Value in Neoliberal Togo”. Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 205(1): 237-258, May 2012.

“African Print Textiles from China”. Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Oxford: Berg. October 2011

“Women Traders’ Responses to the Entry of Chinese Wax Prints in Accra (Ghana), and Lome (Togo)” [co-authored with L. Axelsson] in F. Cheru & C. Obi (eds.) The Rise of China and India in Africa. Challenges, Opportunities and Critical Interventions. London: Zed Books. Pp.132-141, 2010.

“Counterfeited Fashions: The Politics of Dress and Style in Togo”. Africa e Mediterraneo 69-70: 26-32, April 2010.

“Commercantes togolaises et diables chinois. Une approche par la rumeur”. Politique Africaine 113: 55-70, March 2009.

“Rethinking Free-trade Practices in Contemporary Togo : Women Entrepreneurs in the Global Textile Trade” in U. Schuerkens (ed.) Globalization and Transformations of Local socio-economic Practices. London : Routledge. Pp. 174-191. 2008.

“The Fabric of Africanity. Tracing the Global Threads of Authenticity”. Anthropological Theory 7 (2): 201-216, June 2007.

“L’habilité entrepreneuriale des Nana-Benz au Togo”. Africultures 69: 179-185, March 2007.

“L’étoffe de l’africanité”. Les Temps Modernes 620-621: 128-145, August 2002.

Selected Honors & Awards

NSF/Advance External Mentorship Grant, 2012-2013

Mellon Fellowship, Center of the Humanities, University of the Western Cape, 2011-2012

Summer Research Grant, Dean of Faculty, Reed College, 2009

Global Fellow, International Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, 2006-2008

Research Fellow, Maison Française d’Oxford, University of Oxford, Fall 2005

Field Research Grant, EHESS, Paris, 2003-2005

Visiting Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago, 2002-2003

Field Reserach Grant, EHESS, Paris, 2001-2002

Undergraduate Fellowship, SOAS, London, Department of Art History, 1996-1997

Professional Associations & Affiliations

American Anthropological Association

Association for Africanist Anthropology

Society for Cultural Anthropology

Society of Economic Anthropology

Society for Urban, National and Transnational/Global Anthropology