Daniel Jordan Smith
Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology Department:
Phone: (401) 863-7065
Phone 2: (401) 863-3251
Ph.D. Emory University 1999; M.P.H. Johns Hopkins University 1989; A.B. Harvard University 1983
Professor Smith conducts research in medical anthropology, anthropological demography, and political anthropology in sub-Saharan Africa, with a specific focus on Nigeria. His research in medical and demographic anthropology includes work on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and behavior, adolescent sexuality, marriage, kinship, and rural-urban migration. His work on political culture in Nigeria includes studies of patron-clientism, Pentecostal Christianity, vigilantism, and corruption.
Broadly, Professor Smith's research focuses on understanding the intersection of social change and social reproduction, particularly as it unfolds in population processes and health-related behavior. Completed research projects have investigated the influence of migration on family organization and reproductive behavior as people live across rural-urban boundaries. Smith has also studied the effects of rural-urban migration on sexual behavior and HIV risk among adolescents and unmarried young adults. He led the Nigeria component of an NIH-supported, five-country comparative ethnographic study entitled "Love, Marriage, and HIV." The research examined the changing expectations and pragmatics of modern marriage, documenting and analyzing the organization and opportunity structures of extramarital relationships, investigating how gender is configured in contemporary sexual and romantic relationships, and evaluating the effect of these patterns on the transmission of HIV. In addition to elucidating the cultural context of HIV transmission in the five countries, the study design represented a methodological renewal of anthropology's comparative orientation, employing a shared ethnographic methodology to investigate social, demographic, and health processes across five societies. The research culminated in a recent book, The Secret: Love, Marriage, and HIV (2009), co-authored with colleagues on the project. Currently, Professor Smith is finishing a new book about inequality, morality, and social change in Nigeria, using popular responses to the AIDS epidemic as a prism to understand wider transformations.
Smith's research on political culture focuses on understanding the intersection of social imagination, politics, and contemporary issues in Nigeria, including democracy and development, vigilantism, and corruption. His first book, A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria, for which he received the 2008 Margaret Mead Award, examines ordinary Nigerians' participation in corruption, even as they are, paradoxically, its main victims and its loudest critics. He has most recently completed a research project that explored the growing popularity and wider social impact of Pentecostal Christianity in southeastern Nigeria, particularly as Pentecostal Christianity intersects with Nigeria's AIDS epidemic.
Professor Smith teaches courses in cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, development studies and anthropological demography.
Courses taught include: Anthropology 066J: So You Want to Change the World; Anthropology 0100: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Anthropology 0300: Culture and Health: An Introduction to Medical Anthropology; Anthropology 1310: International Health: Anthropological Perspectives; Anthropology 1320: Anthropology and International Development: Ethnographic Perspectives on Poverty and Progress; Anthropology 2304: Issues in Anthropology and Population; Anthropology 2010: Principles of Cultural Anthropology; Anthropology 2200A: International Health: Anthropological Perspectives (graduate seminar).