Robyn d’Avignon is an historian and anthropologist of West Africa, with interests in natural resource extraction, scientific research, and state formation. Her first book manuscript—Shadow Geology: The Search for Subterranean Knowledge West Africa—examines the pre-colonial and colonial roots of conflicts over mineral discovery and property rights in the context of an ongoing gold mining boom in savannah West Africa. Robyn conducted research for this project in Senegal, Mali, Guinea, and France with funding from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. At NYU, Robyn teaches courses on African history for all time periods, humanitarianism, decolonization, nature and technology, and on New York as an African city.
Robyn d’Avignon is on leave for the 2018-2019 academic year as a fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Studies at Harvard University.