Prof. Dr. Mirjam de Bruijn

Dr. Mirjam de Bruijn has been appointed Professor of Contemporary History and Anthropology of West and Central Africa at the Faculty of Arts atLeidenUniversityas of 15 June 2007. She pronounced her inaugural lecture “De telefoon heeft benen gekregen; Mobiele communicatie en sociale veranderingen in de marges van Afrika” on 5 september 2008. As of August 2010 Mirjam de Bruijn has been appointed honorary fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology,University of Cape Town,South Africa.

Mirjam de Bruijn is an anthropologist whose work has a clearly interdisciplinary character. She has done fieldwork inCameroon,ChadandMaliand an important theme throughout is how people manage risk (drought, war, etc.) in both rural and urban areas. She focuses on the interrelationship between agency, marginality and mobility. Her specific fields of interest are: nomadism, youth and children, social (in)security, poverty, marginality/social and economic exclusion, violence, slavery, and human rights. InMalishe worked in the Mopti area with the Fulbe (Peul) and in Menaka with the Tamacheck (Tuareg), while inChadshe has worked in N’Djamena (the capital) and inCentral Chadwith Hadjerai and Arab groups. InCameroonshe works in the Grassfields and the north. Her programme ‘Mobile Africa Revisited’ that started in 2008 is a comparative study of the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and ICT’s interrelationship with agency, marginality and mobility patterns in Central and West Africa. In January 2012, Mirjam de Bruijn has been awarded a VICI grant for her proposal: ‘Connecting in Times of Duress: Understanding Communication and Conflict in Middle Africa’s Mobile Margins.’ This research programme seeks to understand the dynamics in the relationship between social media, mobile telephony and the social fabric under duress inAfrica’s mobile margins. It combines studies on mobility/migration, conflict and communication in an attempt to uncover these new dynamics, which have been so evident in North Africa and theMiddle Eastin 2011.

Recent Publications

Bruijn, M. de & R. van Dijk (2012) ‘Connecting and Change in African Societies : Examples of ‘’Ethnographies of Linking’’ in Anthropology’, Anthropologica, 54.

 Brinkman, I. & M. de Bruijn (2011) ‘Communicating Africa. Researching Mobile Kin Communities, Communication Technologies, and Social Transformation in Angola and Cameroon, Autrepart (57/58): 40-45. 

 Bruijn, M. de, Nyamjoh, & T. Angwafo (2011) ‘Mobile interconnections: Reinterpreting distance, relating and difference in the Cameroonian Grassfields’, Journal of African Media Studies, 2(3): pp. 267 – 285.

 Bruijn, M. de, & E. Osaghae (2011) ‘Conflict Mobility and the Search for Peace in Africa’, in: J. Abbink & M.E. de Bruijn (eds), Land, Law and Politics in Africa: Mediating Conflict and Reshaping the State, Leiden: Brill.

 Bruijn, M. de, (2010) ‘Africa Connects: Mobile Communication and Social Change in the Margins of African Society. The Example of the Bamenda Grassfields, Cameroon’, in: M. Fernández-Ardèvol & A. Ros Híjar (eds), Communication Technologies in Latin America and Africa: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, Barcelona: IN3, pp. 167-191.         

 Bruijn, M. de, Nyamnjoh, F. & I. Brinkman (eds.) (2009) Mobile Phones: the New Talking Drums of Everyday Africa, Leiden/Bamenda: African Studies Centre/Langaa.



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