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Associate Professor and Adjunct Associate Professor, Anthropology


B.A., College of William and Mary (Anthropology); A.M. and Ph.D., Harvard University (Social Anthropology)

Teaching and Research Interests:

Ethnography of Africa, West Africa, and political conflict

Current Research:

The research of Professor Lambert (enrolled citizen Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) focuses on anthropological representation, economic and political anthropology, social movements, colonialism, migration, belonging, and indigeneity in Africa and North America. His first book, Longing for Exile: Migration and the Making of a Translocal Community in Senegal, is a historical ethnography that explores the cultural and social history of urban migration in a Senegalese community. His second book, Up from These Hills: Memories of Cherokee Boyhood (coauthored with Leonard C. Lambert), is an experimental collaborative auto-ethnography that documents American Indian experience in the mid-20th century and interrogates the representation of Cherokees. He is currently completing a book on migration and borders in West Africa, tentatively titled "Bordering Africa: the Politics of Space, Migration and Belonging in Senegal." His publications have appeared in a range of edited volumes and journals such as Comparative Studies in Society and History, Africa, Political and Legal Anthropology Review, and American Indian Quarterly.

From 2005-2015 he served as founding director of UNC-CH’s African Studies Center. He is currently co-chairing a working group that is developing a curriculum in global indigeneity at UNC-CH.

Selected Publications:

"Bordering Africa: The Politics of Space, Belonging, and Migration in Senegal." Book manuscript in preparation.

Up From these Hills: Memories of a Cherokee Boyhood. With Leonard C. Lambert. Lincoln and London, University of Nebraska Press [Bison Books], 2011.

Longing for Exile: Migration and the Making of a Translocal Community in Senegal, West Africa. Portsmouth, NH, Heinemann, 2002.

“Performing the Past and the Present with an Eye to the Future: How might we Optimize the Potential of Land Acknowledgment Rituals and Help Ensure they Do No Harm?” With Elisa J. Sobo and Valerie L. Lambert. Forthcoming in The Routledge Companion to Performance Anthropology, edited by Lauren Miller Griffith and David Syring. Routledge.

“Is the African University a Site of Elite Reproduction or Disruption? What the Senegalese Experience Tells Us.” In Elites and the Politics of Accountability in Africa, edited by Rogers Orock and Wale Adebanwi, 137-155. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2021.

“How Grandma Kate Lost Her Indian Blood and What This Means for American Indian Identity Today.” American Indian Quarterly 43, no. 2 (2019): 135-167.

“Changes: Reflections on Senegalese Youth Political Engagement, 1988-2012.” Africa Today 63, no. 2 (2016): 32-51.

“Teach Our Children Well: On Addressing Negative Stereotypes in Schools.” With Valerie Lambert. American Indian Quarterly 38, no. 4 (2014): 424-540.