Dr Juliet Gilbert BA Hons (Cantab), MSc, DPhil (Oxon)

Dr Juliet Gilbert

Department of African Studies and Anthropology
Lecturer in African Studies and Anthropology

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am an anthropologist with a particular interest in youth studies, religion (especially Pentecostalism), insecure livelihoods, and aspects of popular culture (fashion, beauty pageants, mobile phones). My doctorate thesis focused on young women’s livelihoods in Calabar, southeastern Nigeria.


  • BA Hons in Geography (Cambridge)
  • MSc in Social Anthropology (Oxford)
  • MSc in Social Anthropology Research Methods (Oxford, funded by ESRC)
  • DPhil in Social Anthropology (Oxford, funded by ESRC)
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


For my first degree I read Geography at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. I moved to St Peter’s College, University of Oxford, to gain an MSc in Social
Anthropology. This was followed-up with another MSc and a DPhil in Social Anthropology at Lincoln College, University of Oxford. I successfully defended my thesis in May 2014, and joined DASA in September 2014.


  • Introduction to African Societies (core module for first-year undergraduates)
  • Perspectives on Africa (core module for second-year undergraduates)
  • Theory, Ethnography and Research (core module for second-year undergraduates)
  • African Popular Culture (optional module for second- and third-year undergraduates)
  • Anthropology of Religion & Ritual (optional module for second- and third-year undergraduates)
  • Undergraduate dissertation supervision


Since 2010 I have been carrying out fieldwork in Calabar, Nigeria. My doctoral research was based on fifteen months research between 2011 and 2012. It asked how young women imagine their futures amid uncertainty, and examined the strategies they use in the present to realise their aspirations. Focusing on how this group fashion themselves as respectable young urban women ready for various opportunities to arise, my research drew on various aspects of young women’s lives: the home, church, learning skills, and beauty and fashion. Much of my fieldwork was spent in Pentecostal churches and prayer ministries, and at a sewing shop where I undertook my own sewing apprenticeship. I also followed the Carnival Calabar Queen pageant for two years as a focus for my research on Nigerian beauty pageants.

I am currently publishing articles from my doctoral research, and continue to focus forthcoming fieldwork on the insecurities of young women’s livelihoods in Calabar, Nigeria.

Other activities

  • Associate Scholar of Gender & Pentecostal Christianity: A comparative focus on Africa and Melanesia’ (GenPent), University of Bergen, Norway
  • Gibbs Travelling Research Fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge 2015-6



  • (2013) Honwana, A. (2012) 'The Time of Youth: work, social change, and politics in Africa', AFRICA: Journal of the International African Institute 83(4)

View all publications in research portal