New lecturers for the Department of African Studies and Anthropology

The Department of African Studies and Anthropology is delighted to announce the appointment of two new lecturers, Dr Jessica Johnson and Dr Rebecca Jones.

Dr Johnson is an anthropologist of Malawi, specialising in law and gender. She gained her PhD at the University of Cambridge, and is currently revising the manuscript of her first book – In Search of Gender Justice in Matrilineal Malawi – for the International African Library and Cambridge University Press. The book investigates how far human rights discourses frame rural Malawians’ understandings of gender equality. It does so by tracking notions of gender-based justice as they travel through rural village life, magistrates’ courts, and police victim support. Dr Johnson’s recent research extends her interest in law and justice, taking the magistrates’ courts themselves as a focus. She examines how the courts translate between legal registers and codes in the making of the law. Dr Johnson joins us from a postdoctoral position at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, and has been teaching in Anthropology, African Studies, and Gender Studies.

Dr Jones is a literary and anthropological scholar of Nigeria, specialising in popular culture and religion. Her PhD at DASA and her subsequent book manuscript with James Currey – A Cultural History of Nigerian Travel Writing – explore the development of Yoruba-language travel writing in Nigeria. This was travel writing for Nigerians, not for a Western readership as is often assumed of the genre. The project explores the formation of a public and a print culture, placing texts at centre-stage while also illuminating their social worlds. Since her doctorate, Dr Jones has been a researcher on DASA’s European Research Council-funded ‘Knowing Each Other’ project. Exploring how Muslims and Christians co-exist and engage one another in south-west Nigeria, this involves combining ethnographic, historical and survey-based methods in novel ways. Dr Jones’s teaching draws on this interdisciplinary background, and she has previously taught at DASA on anthropology and literary approaches to African Studies.