Brian Larkin

Brian Larkin

Research Interest

Research Sub-interest

Theory and History of Media, Urbanism, Infrastructures, Aesthetics and Politics, Media Ecologies




Brian Larkin examines media technologies and the way they shape broader ecologies from forms of political rule, to the constitution of urban spaces, and religious and cultural life. He analyzes the actual operations of infrastructures and how they come to constitute the worlds within which we live. He has published on breakdown and disrepair, piracy, the global circulation of cultural forms, infrastructure and urban space, sound studies, and Nigerian film (Nollywood).

Larkin is the cofounder of the Center for Comparative Media at Columbia.



New York University, PhD in Anthropology, 1998

2016. “The Form of Crisis and the Affect of Modernization.” In African Futures: Essays on Crisis, Emergence, and Possibility, edited by Brian Goldstone and Juan Obarrio. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

2015. “Binary Islam: Media and Religious Movements in Nigeria.” In New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa, edited by Rosalind Hackett and Ben Soares. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 

2014. “Techniques of Inattention: The Mediality of Loudspeakers in Nigeria.” Anthropology Quarterly 87, no. 4: 989-1015.

2013. “The Politics and Poetics of Infrastructure.” Annual Review of Anthropology 42: 327-43.

2008. Coeditor with Charles Hirschkind. “Media and the Political Forms of Religion.” Special issue, Social Text 26, no. 3.  

2008b. Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria. Durham: Duke University Press.

2002. Co-edited with Faye Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, Brian Larkin. Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain. Berkeley: University of California Press.

1998. “Media Technologies and the Design for Modern Living: A Symposium.” Visual Anthropology Review 14, no. 2: 11-13.