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Indiana University Bloomington
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Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences
One Discipline, Four Fields

Beth Buggenhagen


Associate Professor, Anthropology Department
Residential Fellow Fall 2015, Institute for Advanced Study, IUB
Faculty Associate, African Studies


(812) 855-0617 | Email | Office Hours

  • Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology, University of Chicago (2003)
  • B.A. in African American and African Studies and Political Science, University of Michigan (1993)

Geographical Areas of Specialization: Africa, North America, Senegal

Topical Interests: circulation and value, material and visual culture, gender and Islam


My research analyzes the politics of social production and value, material culture, visuality, gender, Islam, and globalization. These interests have emerged from my fieldwork in Senegal and with Senegalese migrants in New York City and Chicago. My fieldwork in Senegal from 1999-2000 resulted in the book, Muslim Families in Global Senegal (Indiana University Press 2011). I analyze Muslim trade networks and the transmission of enduring social value though cloth and religious offerings. Highlighting women's participation in these networks and the financial strategies they rely on, I consider the connections between economic profits and ritual and social authority. I argue that these strategies are not responses to a dispersed community in crisis, but rather produce new roles, wealth, and worth for Senegalese women in all parts of the globe.

In New York City my research has considered the predicament of Senegalese Muslim traders who deal in grey market goods (designer purses, CDs and DVDs). My work has considered the political dimensions of official and unofficial economies to address topics that are gaining attention within and beyond academia such as Islam, civil liberties, immigration reform, debates over new media technologies, unregulated economic networks and the U.S. led global War on Terror. I published this work in a chapter in Hard Work, Hard Times: Global Volatility and African Subjectivities (U. California Press 2010), which I edited with Anne-Maria B. Makhulu and Stephen Jackson.

My interest in the relationship between official and unofficial economies and material and visual culture has led to my current research project, Visualizing the Senegalese Postcolony: Practicing Photography in the Urban Economy. This project takes up the problematic of what social relations produce and are reproduced through visuality (and concealment). The project is based on archival and field research in Dakar and New York City on the production and circulation of portraiture in the Senegalese postcolony.

Selected Publications


2012 Buggenhagen, Beth. Muslim Families in Global Senegal. Money Takes Care of Shame. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2010 Anne-Maria B. Makhulu, Beth Buggenhagen, and Stephen Jackson, eds. Hard Work, Hard Times: Global Volatilities and African Subjectivities. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Articles and Chapters

2014 Buggenhagen, Beth. A Snapshot of Happiness: Photo Albums, Respectability, and Economic Uncertainty in Muslim Senegal. Africa 84 (1): 78-100.

2013 Buggenhagen, Beth. Islam's New Visibility and the Secular Public in Senegal. In Tolerance, Democracy, and Sufis in Senegal. Mamadou Diouf, ed. New York: Columbia University Press. 

2012 Buggenhagen, Beth. What the General of Amadou Bamba Saw in New York City: Gendered Displays of Devotion among Migrants of the Senegalese Murid Tariqa. In African Migrations: Patterns and Perspectives. Abdoulaye Kane and Todd Leedy, eds. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2011 Are Births Just “Women’s Business?” Gift Exchange, Value, and Global Volatility in Muslim Senegal. American Ethnologist 38 (4):714-732.

2010 Buggenhagen, Beth. Islam and the Media of Devotion in and out of Senegal, Visual Anthropology Review 26 (2):81-95.

2010 Buggenhagen, Beth. Killer Bargain: The Global Networks of Senegalese Muslims and Policing Unofficial Economies in the War on Terror. In Hard Work, Hard Times: Global Volatilities and African Subjectivities. Anne-Maria B. Makhulu, Beth A. Buggenhagen, and Stephen Jackson, eds. Berkeley: University of California Press, Global, Area and International Archive (GAIA).

2008 Buggenhagen, Beth. Beyond Brotherhood: Gender, Religious Authority and the Global Circuits of Senegalese Muridiyya. In New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal: Conversion, Migration, Wealth, Power and Femininity. Mamadou Diouf and Mara A. Leichtman, eds. Pp. 189-210. Palgrave Press.