Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Bryn Mawr College

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2009
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Yale University
Clean Money for New Mosques: Remittances, Morality, and Contestation in the Republic of Guinea

Remittance money sent from migrant relatives insulates groups of people all over the world from the volatility of global and national economies. Yet when the moral and religious legitimacy of this money's origins comes into question, remittances can become a source of social conflict as well as economic security. My dissertation research will explore the social and moral contexts in which remittances move from migrants abroad to their home villages in the West African Republic of Guinea. Changing understandings of Islam and increasing rumors of migrants' involvement in selling and smuggling drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol have led to escalating moral contestations between Guinean village residents and their migrant relatives who send "unclean" money home. How have debates surrounding the origins and uses of remittances transformed the social, religious, and moral lives of people living in rural Guinea and their migrant relatives alike? Taking the construction of remittance-funded village mosques as an ethnographic lens for examining transnational monetary disputes, I will investigate how people linked between generations and across continents negotiate the meanings and morality of a remittance economy.