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James H. Smith


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Chicago, 2002
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of Chicago
  • B.A., Anthropology, & Social Thought/Political Economy, Univ. of Mass., Amherst

Research Focus

Development and Vernacular Development Narratives and Practices; Temporalities and Temporal Politics; Artisanal Mining and Resource Extraction; State Transformation and Conflict/War; Invisible Worlds; East and Central Africa

Selected Publications

  • Smith, J (2019) Witchcraft in Africa.  In A Companion to the Anthropology of Africa.  Roy Richard Grinker, Stephen Lubkemann, Christopher Stenier, and Euclides Goncalves eds.  (Wiley Blackwell Companions to Anthropology).
  • Smith, J. (2018)  Colonizing Banro: Kingship, Temporality, and the Mining of Futures in the Goldfields of South Kivu, DRC.  In The Politics of Customs: Chiefship, Capital, and the State in Contemporary Africa, John and Jean Comaroff, eds. (University of Chicago Press)
  • Smith, J. (2017)  What's in You Cell Phone?.  In Global Africa: into the Twenty First Century, Dorothy Hodgson and Judith Byfield, eds., University of California Press.
  • Smith, J. (2015) May it Never End: Price wars, networks and temporality in the "3Ts" mining trade of the Eastern DR Congo. In HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 5 (1), 1-35. http://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/article/view/hau5.1.002/1812
  • Smith, J., & Mwadime, N. (2014) Email from NgetiAn Ethnography of Sorcery, Redemption, and Friendship in Global Africa, University of California Press
  • Smith, J. (2011) Tantalus in the Digital Age: Coltan ore, temporal dispossession, and "movement" in the Eastern DR Congo. American Ethnologist, Volume 38, Number 1, pp. 17-35
  • Smith, J., & Hackett, R. (Eds.) (2011) Displacing the State: Religion and Conflict in Neoliberal Africa, University of Notre Dame Press.
  • Smith, J. (2008) Bewitching Development: Witchcraft and the Reinvention of Development in Neoliberal Kenya, University of Chicago Press