Daniel Jordan Smith

Charles C. Tillinghast, Jr. Professor of International Studies and Professor of Anthropology
Daniel J. Smith

Daniel Jordan Smith joined the Department of Anthropology at Brown in 2001 after two years as a Mellon postdoctoral fellow at PSTC. Smith conducts research in Nigeria focusing on a range of issues, including population processes, political culture, kinship, infrastructure, and health.

He won the 2008 Margaret Mead Award for his first book, A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria (Princeton University Press, 2007). Smith’s second single-authored book, AIDS Doesn’t Show Its Face: Inequality, Morality, and Social Change in Nigeria (University of Chicago Press, 2014) won the 2015 Elliott P. Skinner Award from the Association for Africanist Anthropology. He is also the author of To Be a Man Is Not a One-Day Job: Masculinity, Money, and Intimacy in Nigeria (University of Chicago Press, 2017), which received Special Commendation for the Amaury Talbot Prize for African Anthropology from the Royal Anthropological Institute. Smith's most recent project, for which he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020, investigated how Nigerians cope with widespread failures of fundamental infrastructure and basic services, with particular attention to how the resulting entrepreneurial activities and informal economic enterprises are, paradoxically, central to the consolidation of state power and the substance of citizenship. His book based on this research, Every Household Its Own Government: Improvised Infrastructure, Entrepreneurial Citizens, and the State in Nigeria, was published in March 2022 by Princeton University Press.  

He was the recipient of the 2007-9 William C. McGloughlin Award for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences, and from 2015 until 2018 he was appointed a Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence. From 2006-2011 he served as Associate Director of PSTC, and from 2012-2019 he was Chair of the Department of Anthropology. He is currently Director of the Watson Institute's Africa Initiative.

Selected Publications:

2023. Smith, Daniel Jordan. “Conspicuous Redistribution: Money, Morality, and Masculinity in Nigeria.” Journal of Contemporary African Studies DOI: 10.1080/02589001.2023.2193367

2022. Smith, Daniel Jordan. Every Household Its Own Government: Improvised Infrastructure, Entrepreneurial Citizens, and the State in Nigeria. Princeton University Press.

2022. Smith, Daniel Jordan. “Anthropological Demography in Africa.” In The Routledge Handbook of African Demography, Clifford Odimegwu and Yemi Adewoyin, eds., pp. 823-839. Routledge.

2021. Smith, Daniel Jordan. “The Pentecostal Prosperity Gospel in Nigeria: Paradoxes of Corruption and Inequality.” Journal of Modern African Studies 59(1):103-122.

2020. Smith, Daniel Jordan. “Masculinity, Money, and the Postponement of Parenthood in Nigeria.” Population and Development Review 46(1):101-120.

Scholarly Interests

Anthropological demography, Corruption, HIV/AIDS, Medical anthropology, Migration, Pentecostal Christianity, Political culture

Affiliated Departments

Department of Anthropology