Selected articles

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Fioratta, Susanna. 2019. Conspiracy Theorizing as Political Practice in Guinea. Africa 89(3): 457-78. Link.

“Through conspiracy theorizing, previously flexible identities and opinions crystallize in particular actions, orientations and events. In this process of emergence, people may begin to perceive grievances more acutely, become willing to take new risks, and even go so far as to commit acts of violence they would not previously have contemplated.”

Rubin, Joshua D., Susanna Fioratta, and Jeffrey W. Paller. 2019. Ethnographies of Emergence: Everyday Politics and their Origins across Africa. Special Section Introduction. Africa 89(3): 429-36. Link.

“Whether revolutionary or reactionary, large-scale or quotidian, unsettled circumstances require a flexibility in action or belief. New situations and new problems complicate existing social relations or demand that novel ones be formulated on the fly. Importantly, real political and social change emerges out of these moments of rupture or ‘crisis’, confirming the need for a process-driven analysis of informal practices and techniques of social navigation.”

Fioratta, Susanna. 2019. A World of Cheapness: Affordability, Shoddiness, and Second-Best Options in Guinea and China. Economic Anthropology 6(1): 86-97. Link.

“In a world of cheapness, people can access consumer goods and they can cross international borders, but not in the ways they would prefer. Cheap access is partial, and sometimes less than desirable.”

Fioratta, Susanna. 2018. The Problem of “Ninjas” and “Bandits”: Ethnographic Encounters with Reformist Muslim Women in Guinea. Anthropology and Humanism 43(1): 58-73. Link.

“Why and how are religious distinctions so often symbolized by or instantiated in women’s appearance and behavior? What can the experiences of women themselves reveal about these differences? More broadly, how can an ethnographic focus on aberrant women challenge assumptions about differences in religious subjectivity, about gendered expectations and norms, and about the very practice of ethnography?”

Fioratta, Susanna. 2015. Beyond Remittance: Evading Uselessness and Seeking Personhood in Fouta Djallon, Guinea. American Ethnologist 42(2): 295-308. Link.

“Beyond aspirations to make money, going abroad allows migrants to present themselves as striving to be responsible members of the communities they leave behind—even if the reality of their experiences leaves their ideals of personal success unfulfilled. Likewise, individuals who stay in their hometowns and engage in small-scale entrepreneurial activities that earn them almost no money at all are performing a similar notion of responsible personhood. People desire wealth, but they rarely manage to attain it, whether at home or abroad. Instead, either by striving invisibly at a distance or by working industriously at home, they seek the respect others in their community accord a responsible person.”

Short essays

Fioratta, Susanna. 2021. “Guinea has a long history of coups: here are 5 things to know about the country.” The Conversation. Link.

“Videos of Guineans dancing in the streets and cheering as pickup trucks full of soldiers parade through Conakry have made the rounds on social media. But Guineans have experienced military rule before, and they know the consequences can be dangerous.”

Fioratta, Susanna. 2019. “How Conspiracy Theory Shapes Reality: An Example from Guinea.” The Conversation. Link.

“Conspiracy theories are often dismissed as irrational paranoia, but they often reveal broader truths. This is especially the case among less powerful people in contexts of insecurity. And Guineans, who have experienced both colonial exploitation and socialist state repression, have reasons to be suspicious.”

Fioratta, Susanna. 2015. “Marriage and Adulthood in West Africa.” In Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology, 15th edition. James Spradley, David McCurdy, and Dianna Shandy, eds. Pearson.

“It is virtually impossible for an unmarried man or woman to be considered an adult in Guinea…And yet, despite the importance of marriage in Fouta Djallon society, achieving this ideal can be surprisingly difficult. Married status can be difficult to attain, must be actively maintained, and can be lost through death or divorce. And, furthermore, men and women experience these challenges differently.”

Book reviews

  • 2019. Review of Forging African Communities: Mobility, Integration, and Belonging. Oliver Bakewell and Loren B. Landau, eds. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees 35(2): 124-125.
  • 2016. Review of Shi’i Cosmopolitanisms in Africa: Lebanese Migration and Religious Conversion in Senegal. Mara A. Leichtman. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015. International Journal of African Historical Studies 49(2A): 27-28.
  • 2016. Review of Return to Sender: The Moral Economy of Peru’s Migrant Remittances. Karsten Paerregaard. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press with University of California Press, 2014. American Ethnologist 43(1): 189-190.
  • 2014. Review of Moving Matters: Paths of Serial Migration. Susan Ossman. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013. American Ethnologist 41(4): 797-798.

Some of my published work is available through the Bryn Mawr College repository of open-access scholarship. If you want to read one of my pieces but are not able to access it, please email me and I will be happy to share a copy with you.