Office: Tyler Annex 203
Hours: M & T 3-4 & by appointment
Caroline Melly received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Irvine, in 2008. She is a sociocultural anthropologist whose research broadly considers how transnational processes and linkages—like migration, foreign investment regulations and practices, development discourses, and technology and media—are transforming urban spaces and livelihoods in contemporary Africa.
She has conducted research in Dakar, Senegal, with the support of the National Science Foundation (Law and Social Science and Cultural Anthropology programs) and the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program.
Melly's current manuscript examines how state officials and urban residents articulate complex and contradictory visions of a new era in the capital's postcolonial history, one that follows the structural adjustment reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. This moment is characterized in particular by an intense interest in transnational migration out of the country (to destinations like Europe, the United States and the Middle East) and by a focus on large-scale investment and entrepreneurialism. Melly's manuscript examines how these discourses and policies, both contradictory and overlapping, impact people's daily lives, their interactions with and in urban space, and their ideas about economic possibility and political participation. Her ethnographic research in this expanding capital city involved an internship at the national investment promotion agency, which was looking to create a program for migrants to invest; "mobile" interviews with cab drivers navigating the city; and extensive work with return migrants, investors and residents who considered themselves excluded from transnational networks. She also plans on extending the scope of her research to consider how Senegalese migrants in the United States are shaping the capital city and the nation from afar through the money they send to families left behind, through Web sites and virtual debates, and through transnational political groups that focus on national- and city-level politics.
At Smith, Melly teaches courses on transnationalism and globalization; visual anthropology; gender; urban anthropology; the Internet and technology; and African studies.