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Adeline Masquelier - Tulane University. New Orleans, LA, US

Adeline Masquelier

Professor | Tulane University


Adeline Masquelier is an expert on religion, youth cultures, education and environmental issues in Niger, West Africa.






'Losing Culture' (book symposium)- David Berliner. Discussants - Adeline Masquelier & Jonas Tinius Girls’ Education, Neoliberal Subjectivity, and Sacrifice in Niger




Adeline Masquelier is a Professor of Anthropology at Tulane University. As a sociocultural anthropologist, she has researched in Niger, West Africa, for over 30 years on religion, gender, health, youth cultures, education, and environmental issues. She authored three books based on her research.

Her first book Prayer Has Spoiled Everything: Possession, Power, and Identity in an Islamic Town of Niger (Duke University Press, 2001), argues that while spirit possession practices have become marginalized, even maligned in some quarters, they remain profoundly relevant to people’s life projects. Her second book, Women and Islamic Revival in a West African Town (Indiana University Press, 2009), received the 2010 Herskovits Award for best scholarly book on Africa and the 2012 Aidoo-Snyder Prize for best scholarly book about African women. It explores how emerging Muslim ideologies of gender, morality, and domesticity have enabled women to anchor their religious identities as guardians of moral values while limiting their modes of autonomy and self-expression. Her latest book Fada: Boredom and Belonging in Niger (University of Chicago Press, 2019), was a finalist for the Best Book Prize awarded by the African Studies Association, and received a special commendation for the Amaury Talbot Prize from the Royal Anthropological Institute, focuses on urban youth, unemployment, masculinity, and sociality.

Awards from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the School of Advanced Research, the National Geographic Society, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation have supported her work. 2018, she received a year-long residential fellowship at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies in Denmark.

At Tulane, she teaches numerous courses, including “Medical Anthropology,” “Global Africa,” “Development in Anthropological Theory,” “Many Faces of Islam,” “Anthropology of Gender,” “Sexualities,” “The Body,” “Infection and Inequality,” and “Culture and Religion.”

Areas of Expertise (8)

Niger, West Africa


Youth Cultures

Environmental Issues




Sociocultural Anthropology

Accomplishments (4)

2010 Herskovits Award (professional)

Best scholarly book on Africa

2012 Aidoo-Snyder Prize (professional)

Best scholarly book about African women

Finalist - Best Book Prize Award for Fada: Boredom and Belonging in Niger (professional)

From the African Studies Association

Special commendation for the Amaury Talbot Prize (professional)

Royal Anthropological Institute, focuses on urban youth, unemployment, masculinity, and sociality

Education (1)

University of Chicago: Doctor of Philosophy

Affiliations (3)

  • Past President of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion
  • Former Chair Director of the Religious Studies Program at Tulane
  • Former Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Tulane

Media Appearances (3)

Adieu to a post-colonial bully?

African Arguments  online


“Anti-French sentiments are rooted in a colonial history marked by violence and extraction that has left deep wounds,” Professor Adeline Masquelier told African Arguments. Masquelier is a professor at the Department of Anthropology, Tulane University and author of three books on Niger.

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Niger coup brings West Africa to brink of war

Responsible Statecraft  online


“While the coup was a surprise, discontent was brewing. Niger has long been seen as an ally of France in the fight against insurgency and instability,” Tulane University Anthropology Professor Adeline Masquelier told RS.

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What can different cultures teach about boredom?

BBC  online


“[Young Nigerien men say] ‘zaman kashin wando’, which literally means ‘the sitting that kills the pants’. It’s a phrase that describes the immobility one feels when your future is on hold. Hausa is a highly metaphorical language; ‘to kill actually means here ‘to wear out’,” said Adeline Masquelier, a professor of cultural anthropology at Tulane University, Louisiana. “It refers to the fact that all the sitting they do during their waking hours wears out the parts of the pants they sit on. Young men refer to themselves as ‘masu kasin wando’ (‘those who have worn out pants’) – it is a self-derogatory expression.”

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