Robyn d’Avignon is an historian and anthropologist of West Africa, with interests in natural resource extraction, scientific research, and state formation. Her book project—Shadow Geology: The Search for Subterranean Knowledge in West Africa—explores the precolonial and colonial roots of ongoing debates over the rights of agrarian households to mine gold. Drawing on research conducted in Senegal, Guinea, and France, the project documents how colonial and post-colonial states profited from the mineral discoveries of their citizens and subjects, while simultaneously degrading African extractive practices as wasteful, primitive, and criminal. She has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Wenner Gren Foundation. At New York University, she teaches courses on African history for all time periods, humanitarianism and development, nature and technology in the modern world, and on the historic relationship between Africa and New York City.