SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Dr Gunvor Jonsson

BA and BA Hons (University of Pretoria); MA (University of Copenhagen); PhD (SOAS, University of London)
  • Teaching
  • Research


ANT - IMG - 240 - Gunvor Jonnson
Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Lecturer in Social Anthropology

Dr Gunvor Jonsson
Email address:
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
MB 582
Academic Support Hours:
Monday 12.00-2.00pm


Programmes Convened
Modules Taught



`I work primarily on development, migration and (im)mobilities in Africa with a focus on
francophone/Islamic West Africa. My collaborative and independent research has tackled key
aspects of mobility in Africa through pioneering projects which have privileged the perspectives of
African scholars and migrants themselves. I have conducted anthropological fieldwork in Mali,
Senegal, and South Africa, and collaborative inter-disciplinary research with partners in Ghana,
Nigeria, Morocco, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I am currently completing a book manuscript tentatively entitled, Terminus. The Ends of Malian
Women´s Railway Commerce in Neoliberal Dakar. The book is an exploration of “endings”, revolving
around the demolition of the Malian market at the terminus station of the Dakar-Niger railway line,
in the heart of the Senegalese capital. Neo-liberal policies implemented by former President Wade
led to the privatisation of the railway line in Senegal and the subsequent bulldozing of the Malian
market at the Dakar terminus in 2009. I explored the consequences, which were felt especially by
women traders who had travelled the line since its inauguration, making the terminus station in
Dakar the centre of a thriving network of settled Malian migrants and mobile traders and visitors.
The main interlocutors of the book are childless, divorced, and widowed women, who have been
increasingly drawn into trade and travel during the recent decades of economic and political
liberalisation in Senegal and Mali. The book is based on my doctoral thesis, which was awarded the
2015 RAI/Sutasoma Award by the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Prior to joining SOAS I was a Departmental Lecturer in Migration and Development at the Oxford
Department of International Development (ODID, University of Oxford). From 2008 onwards I was a
key member of the research team at the International Migration Institute (IMI) at the University of
Oxford, where I worked on the African Migrations Programme and on projects including African
Perspectives on Human Mobility; Mobility in the African Great Lakes; and Theorizing the Evolution of
European Migration Systems (THEMIS). I am a founding member of the virtual IMI network, IMIn
(, and Review Editor of Migration & Society (Berghahn Journals). I hold a PhD from SOAS; an MA from Copenhagen (Denmark); and undergraduate degrees from the University of Pretoria (South Africa).