Research Interests: Cultural anthropology, political economy of agrarian societies, development, historical anthropology; Africa
Louise Lennihan joined the department of Anthropology at Hunter College in 1982 and has been a member of the Graduate Center doctoral faculty since 1987, serving as the Executive Officer of the Ph.D. Program in Anthropology from 1997-2008. She served as Associate Provost and Dean for Humanities and Social Sciences for four years, and later served as Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Lennihan has held grants from the Social Science Research Council, the National Science Foundation, NIMH, and Fulbright-Hays.
Trained as a cultural anthropologist at Columbia University with a focus on West Africa, she has conducted archival and field research in northern Nigeria. She was part of a group of scholars who met at Ahmadu Bello University in the 1980s and who set out to write the area’s political economy from the onset of informal colonial rule in the late 19th century. Louise’s particular area of research was the regional agrarian labor history of Zaria Emirate following the abolition of slavery through the post-colonial oil boom, documenting a story of growing impoverishment and dispossession. Among her publications are articles in numerous journals and books, including Journal of Peasant Studies, Slavery and Abolition, Human Organization, Reviews in Anthropology, Human Ecology, and Golden Ages and Dark Ages: Imagining the Past in History and Anthropology.