Isaie Dougnon

Isaie Dougnon, Humanitarian Affairs


- Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies & International Humanitarian Affairs
- Coordinator of Water and Migration Project
Martino Hall, 426
[email protected]
FALL 2023 Office hours:
On leave
    • BA and MA in Anthropology and History,  University of Saint-Petersbourg, Russia

    • PhD in Anthropology, University of Bayreuth, Germany

    • Labor

    • Migration

    • Rural development

    • Civil Service

    • Life Cycle

    • Higher Education and Academic Freedom

  • Isaie Dougnon’s research examines migration, work, and lifecycle in West Africa. Before coming to Fordham, Isaie was a professor of Anthropology at the University of Bamako in Mali where he taught courses on the anthropology of development, migration, and local knowledge. After publishing his first book, Travail de Blanc, Travail de Noir (Karthala 2007), Dr. Dougnon published several articles contributing to current debates on child labor. His work uses historical and anthropological approaches to offer a local perspective on labor and migration in colonial and post-colonial Africa. From 2008-2012, he directed the UNESCO-University of Bamako research program Water and Migration. He is currently finishing a book manuscript, Crises of Passage, which examines how Malian civil servants engage in secret societies and ritual practices to overcome career impasses and moral crises. Dr. Dougnon has contributed to the debate on the Malian political and humanitarian crisis of 2012 by publishing essays in local and international newspapers and journals. His most recent research examines the crisis of academic freedom and higher education in Mali after the end of dictatorship. Hehas held several fellowships, including at the Humboldt Foundation, Re:Work (Humboldt University, Berlin), and the Fulbright Foundation. His work has appeared in many journals and edited collections, including Humanity, African Economic History, African Identities, and Hommes & Migrations.

  • In the courses Prof Dougnon teaches and in his advising in the Humanitarian Studies program, he has brought the perspective of local knowledge about development and aid, examining foreign service, migration, and humanitarian interventions from African perspectives. He has taught eight different course preps, including teaching core major requirements in French and creating three new elective classes in French (on African education, society and film, and climate change), as well as redesigning the syllabi of an additional French elective on migration and identity. In addition, he teaches two courses in Humanitarian Studies at the Master’s level.

  • Book
    (2007) Travail de Blanc, Travail de Noir: La Migration Paysanne du Pays Dogon à l’Office du Niger et au Ghana 
    Manuscripts : 
    - Crises de Passage : Cycle de vie, carrières modernes, et rites au Mali
    - The Africanization of Colonial Universities: Fifty years of Crises in Mali’s Higher Education
    2020 "Etre chez-soi à Bamako ou la vie après la mort"
    2016 "Ghana Boys: Reinterpreting Labor Migration as Initiation Rite"
    2013 “Migration as Coping with Risk” 
    2013 “Migration as Coping with Risk”
    2011 “Child Trafficking or Labor Migration? An Historical Perspective from Dogon Country”
    2009 “Migration for ‘white man’s work’: an empirical rebuttal to Marxist theory"