Department of Anthropology
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Fayetteville, AR 72701
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JoAnn D'Alisera

JoAnn D'Alisera

Associate Professor,
Director of Graduate Studies

Ph.D. University of Illinois 1997

West Africa

Africans in America


American Islam

City Cultures


Material Culture




Anthropology of Experience

Transnational Communities and Identities


JoAnn D’Alisera is Associate Professor of Anthropology and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Anthropology. She teaches courses on Africa, Africans in America, Religion, Material Culture, Transnational Communities, Islam, Cities, Commemoration and Memorialization. Dr. D’Alisera’s first book, An Imagined Geography: Sierra Leonean Muslims in America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), examines the way Sierra Leonean Muslims fashion a sense of community in an American urban context.  Her second project, funded by a Rockefeller Fellowship in the Humanities and Russell Sage Foundation grant explores the social experiences of Sierra Leonean Muslims, African foreign nationals, and US citizens of recent African origin living in Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of 9/11. She is currently completing a manuscript based on this work entitled, City Space and the Poetics of Pious Enactment: Making Muslim Selves in the Sierra Leonean Diaspora in which she explores the way Sierra Leonean Muslims remake city space through acts of worship that disrupt the taken-for-granted spatial narratives that cast the city as the primary symbol of national belonging, civic dignity, and power in the American popular imagination. She has published journal articles in PoLar: The Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Journal of Material Culture, African Diaspora, Anthropology Today and Anthropology and Humanism.


Selected Recent Publication


An Imagined Geography: Sierra Leonean Muslims in America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania
Press, 2004, pp.181

City Space and the Poetics of Pious Enactment: Making Muslim Selves in the Sierra Leonean Diaspora (in progress)


“Public Spaces/Muslim Places: Locating Sierra Leonean Muslim Identity in Washington, D.C.,” African
  Diaspora 3:1 (2010), 93-109

“Images of a Wounded Homeland: Sierra Leonean-American Children and the New Heart of
  Darkness,” Nancy Foner (ed.), Family Ties: Immigrant Families in America.  New York: New York
  University Press. (2009), pp 114-34

“Icons of Longing: Homeland and Memory in the Sierra Leonean Diaspora,” PoLar: The Political and
  Legal Anthropology Review 25:2 (2002), 73-89

“I ♥ Islam: Popular Religious Commodities, Sites of Inscription, and Transnational Sierra Leonean Identity,”
   Journal of Material Culture 6:1 (2001), 89-108

 “Field of Dreams: The Anthropologist Far Away at Home,” Anthropology and Humanism 24 (1999), 5-19

“Born in the USA: Naming Ceremonies of Infants among Sierra Leoneans in the American Capital,”
 Anthropology Today 14 (1998), 16-18

Courses Taught

ANTH 1023  Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 3123  Anthropology of Religion
ANTH 4363  Museums, Material Culture, and the Popular Imagination
ANTH 4513  African Religions: Gods, Witches, Ancestors
ANTH 4583  Sub-Saharan African Cultures
ANTH 4903  Material Religion
ANTH 5113  Anthropology of the City
ANTH 6813  Fieldwork, Fieldnotes, and Ethnographic Writing