Nile A. Davies

Nile A. Davies

Dissertation Review Committee

Research Interest

Research Sub-interest

Urbanism, Materiality, Historical Anthropology, Political Economy, Labor


West Africa; Sierra Leone


Nile Davies examines the historical conjunctions of settlement and the built environment in the Western Area of Sierra Leone, where centuries of successive arrivals have produced powerful ideological associations between place, space and categories of personhood (“creoles," “natives," “strangers”).

Charting the vexed status of the city through the material and economic disparities of building and dwelling, his research turns ethnographic attention to scenes of contentious co-presence in postconflict Freetown: demographic anxieties, fantasies of plenitude and production, processes of use and ruination.

He asks how value and inequality might be rendered in our bodies, the material relationships to the landscapes we build, and those we desire. How do violent discrepancies within communities strain the rational connections between ends and means?

His ethnographic work is supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life at Columbia University.


University College London, MA in Comparative Literature, 2013
Columbia University, MA in Middle East, South Asian and African Studies, 2016