Institute of African Studies - Columbia University

Updated: University Seminar on Contemporary Africa: Brian Larkin, Barnard College

Event Details

Updated: University Seminar on Contemporary Africa: Brian Larkin, Barnard College
"Generator Life in Nigeria"
Date: 
December 8, 2015 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Location: 
Faculty House
PLEASE NOTE: This event has been updated.

Generator Life in Nigeria

This paper examines generator life. It focuses on their physicality, how generators shape the technologized, ambient environment of urban Nigeria and the daily virtuosity required to obtain petrol, fill, operate and repair the generator.  To live a life organized by the generator means to restructure rooms, houses, buildings, cities to take into account generator use.  It involves knowing when to turn it on and off, which appliances can be used when it is on and which not, how to protect it from elements.  I focus on the technology of the generator, the cultural techniques, modes of life and political forms it engenders as a means of inquiring into the relations between technology, the body and urban life.

Brian Larkin is the Tow Associate Professor for Distinguished Scholars at Barnard College.  He is the author of Signal and Noise: Media Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria (Duke University Press, 2008) and, with Lila Abu-Lughod and Faye Ginsburg, co-editor of Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain (University of California Press, 2000).

For more information on the University Seminar on Contemporary Africa, please visit their website.