Project Researchers

Laurence Douny

© Michelle Mantel // Matters of Activity

I am a social anthropologist and research associate at the cluster Matters of Activity. Image Space Material. Since 2001, I have been conducting research in West Africa on material culture related themes and with a focus on wild silks production and indigo dyeing in Mali and Burkina Faso. I am the principal investigator of the project ‘West African wild silks techniques: Preserving Marka-Dafing’s heritage of knowledge‘ which is funded by the  ‘Endangered Material Knowledge Program’ (EMKP), the Arcadia Foundation and The British Museum. My previous research project focused on the social and symbolic construction of West African heritagescapes in the context of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Some of my research interests include local concepts of heritage, material identities, community museums, entomological and textiles collections.

Selected Publications

2020. (forthcoming, with Urmila Mohan) The Material Subjects: Bodies and Objects on the Move. London: Routledge.

2020. (forthcoming) ‘West African Science of Materials: Techniques of Wild Silk Production as a Heritage of Knowledge’. In: Urmila Mohan and Laurence Douny (eds.). The Material Subjects: Bodies and Objects on the Move. London: Routledge.

2019. ‘Slavery histories from the peripheries: the making of heritage landscapes in Western Burkina Faso’. In: Markus Balkenhol, Ruy L. Blanes, and Ramon Sarró (eds.). Atlantic Perspectives. Places, Spirits and Heritage. London: Berghahn.

2018. ‘The commodification of authenticity: performing and displaying Dogon material identity’. In: Alexis C. Bunten and Nelson Graburn (eds.). Cultural Tourism Movements: New Articulations of Indigenous Identity. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

2014. ‘Wild silk wrappers of Dogon: wrapping and unwrapping material identities’. In: Susanna Harris and Laurence Douny eds.). Wrapping and Unwrapping Material Culture: Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives. London: Routledge.