Bettina Ng'weno

Bettina Ng'weno

Position Title
Associate Professor

2209 Hart Hall

PhD Cultural Anthropology, John Hopkins University

Teaching Interests

Research methodology; Race and Ethnicity in Latin America; Black intellectuals; Diaspora and new Black identities; African descent communities in the Caribbean and Latin America; African descent communities of Asia

Research Interest

Cultural anthropology; Black Geographies; Space; Citizenship; Temporality; Property; Race and Ethnicity; Rural societies; Cities; Social Justice; Law; Latin America, Africa and the Indian Ocean region.

I am from Nairobi, Kenya. Trained as an anthropologist I work on issues of space, property, social justice, citizenship, cities, states, race and ethnicity within Latin America, Africa and the Indian Ocean region. I received my Ph.D. in Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University and a MA also in Anthropology from Stanford University and have a BSc. in Agricultural Science and Management from the University of California, Davis.  I was the co-director of the Mellon Research Initiative Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds. At the moment, I am writing a book on Nairobi that focuses on long-term residents, and the temporality and spaciality of the city. Few studies of sub-Saharan African cities detail what it feels like to live in African cities and experience the tremendously rapid scale of change that has taking place in those cities.  Even fewer do so from the point of view of long-term residents. Working from personal, familial, ethnographic and archival history and experience of Nairobi, in both my academic writing and creative film I want to bring to life a Nairobi rarely talked about centered on the railways, the dreams and aspirations of long-term residents and the complicated spatial and temporal dynamics of the city. At the same time, I work closely with a diverse group of students and scholars brought together by our Mellon Research Initiative on issues concerning Indian Ocean worlds including questions of place making, oceanographic epistemologies, relationality, proximity and distance and the ideas that travel with material objects. The process of reimagining Indian Ocean worlds forces us to think of new approaches and methodologies, as well as new perspectives and stories of being. I recently published an edited volume, Developing Global Leaders: Case Studies from Africa, that examines the experience and struggles of African business, academic, and government leaders in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania. It shows generational and gender divides in conceptualizing leadership as well as the dynamism of the African cultural, political and economic context magnified by rapid demographic change. Finally, in collaboration with a scholar from the University of Nairobi, I am working on a collection of essays regarding historical, political and moral aspects to the acquisition of citizenship in Kenya.

Image result for ngweno turf wars testBettina's Book