Nisrin Elamin (‘19-‘20)

Lecturer in Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies Columbia University


Nisrin Elamin received her PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University in 2019. Her work explores the relationship between land, belonging, migration and geopolitics in post-secession Sudan. Her current project examines the ways landless and landholding communities are negotiating and contesting changes in land ownership prompted by a recent wave of Gulf Arab corporate investments in Sudanese land. It situates contemporary, state-driven ‘land grabs’ in the agricultural Gezira region of central Sudan, within a layered history of enclosures and unequal landed relations shaped by legacies of enslavement and colonial rule. Methodologically, it combines a multi-sited ethnographic study of land dispossession in rural and peri-urban communities with a historical analysis of the ways the Gezira has been imagined as the answer to various colonial and post-colonial development visions. Her research has received support from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Ms. Elamin’s writing on current affairs in Sudan, has appeared in Al Jazeera, the "Monkey Cage" blog of the Washington Post, OkayAfrica, and the Egypt Independent.