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Brian Larkin

Barnard College, School of the Arts
411A Milbank, Columbia University
  • Member, Faculty Steering Committee, Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi
  • Member, Committee on Global Thought

Brian Larkin is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College.  He is the author of Signal and Noise: Media Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria (Duke University Press, 2008) and, with Lila Abu-Lughod and Faye Ginsburg, co-editor of Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain (University of California Press, 2000).  He sits on the board of the Society for Cultural Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association.

My research focuses on the ethnography and history of media in Nigeria.  Most broadly I examine the introduction of media technologies into Nigeria – cinema, radio, digital media - and the religious, social and cultural changes they bring about.  I explore how media technologies comprise broader networked infrastructures that shape a whole range of actions from forms of political rule, to new urban spaces, to cultural life.  I have also published widely on issues of globalization, piracy and intellectual property, and Nigerian films (Nollywood) in such journals as Public Culture, Africa, Social Text and Cahiers d’Études africaines.

My current book, provisionally titled, Secular Machines: Media and the Materiality of Islamic Revival, analyzes the role media play in the rise of new Islamic movements in Nigeria and explores theoretical questions about technology and religion.

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