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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
Faculty Associate, African Studies


Indiana University Scholarworks

(812) 855-0617 | Email | Office Hours

  • Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology, University of Chicago (2003)
  • B.A. in Afroamerican & 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, photography, 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 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.

Currently I am working to complete a book manuscript, Photography in and out of Senegal. In my research I ask if one of the defining problems of the 21st century is global migration, what does a long-term view from Africa offer? Building on my first ethnography, Muslim Families in Global Senegal, in which I charted the global networks of Senegalese Muslims, I analyze the view from Senegal through photographs in my second book, Photography in and out of Senegal. Photographs shape and are shaped by global networks of migration. Personal portraits—passed from hand to hand, placed in albums, framed on walls, and displayed at religious and family celebrations—make visible migrants and their networks and become objects that migrate. The impact of this work will be to show a tolerant and urbane practice of Islam through the lens of photography by shifting a polarizing national conversation about Muslim migration in a new direction.


Graduate Courses:

E613 Global Africa

E600 Blood, Money, Value

Undergraduate Courses:

ANTH E300 Islam in & out of Africa

ANTH E300 Photography & Ethnography

ANTH E400 Fashion, Beauty, Power

ANTH E413 Global Africa

Selected Publications

See also Indiana University Scholarworks:


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

2017 Buggenhagen, Beth. If You Were in My Sneakers: Migration Stories in the Studio Photography of Dakar based Omar Victor Diop. Visual Anthropology Review 33 (1): 38-50.

2017 Buggenhagen, Beth. Area Studies and the Challenges of Creating a Space for Public Debate. Africa Today 63 (2): 82-87.

2016 Buggenhagen, Beth. Dak’Art 11th Biennale of Contemporary African Art (review). African Arts 49 (1): 82-85.

2014 Buggenhagen, Beth. A Snapshot of Happiness: Photo Albums, Respectability, and Economic Uncertainty in Dakar. 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. Pp. 51-72. New York: Columbia University Press.

2013 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. Pp. 248-269. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.    

2012 Buggenhagen, Beth. Fashioning Piety: Dress, Money, and Faith among Senegalese Muslims in Post 9/11 New York City. Special Issue, Muslim Cosmopolitans, Dorothea Schulz and Mara Leichtman, eds. City and Society. 24 (1): 82-102.

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. Pp. 130-149. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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.

2004 Buggenhagen, Beth. Domestic Object(ion)s: The Senegalese Murid Trade Diaspora and the Politics of Marriage Payments, Love, and State Privatization. InProducing African Futures: Ritual and Reproduction in a Neoliberal Age. Brad Weiss, ed., Pp. 21-53. Leiden: Brill Academic Press.