George Paul Meiu

George Paul Meiu

Professor of Anthropology and African and African American Studies
Joint appointment with African and African American Studies
On Leave AY 21-22
George Meiu

Research and Teaching Interests

Race and ethnicity; Sexuality and sexual citizenship; Kinship; Gender; Economic anthropology; Historical anthropology; East Africa; Kenya.

George Paul Meiu is Professor of Anthropology and African and African American Studies in the Department of Anthropology and the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. His research and teaching focus on sexuality, gender, and kinship; belonging, citizenship and the state; race and ethnicity; and the political economy of postcolonial Africa.

In his book, Ethno-erotic Economies: Sexuality, Money, and Belonging in Kenya (University of Chicago Press, 2017), Meiu explores how the tourist commodification of ethnic sexuality shapes collective attachments and relations of age, gender, and kinship in Kenya. Combining ethnographic and historical methods, he investigates how young Samburu men perform their ethnic identity through colonial images of the ethnic, sexual warrior, in order to engage in intimate relationships with European women, acquire wealth, and build futures. The book examines the myriad implications that etho-erotic commidification has for how Samburu negotiate belonging. Meiu's book received the Ruth Benedict Prize of the Association of Queer Anthropology, the Nelson Graburn Book Prize of the Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group, and is a finalist of the Elliot P. Skinner Book Award of the Association for Africanist Anthropology.

Meiu is coeditor of Ethnicity, Commodity, In/Corporation (Indiana University Press, 2020), a book that examines the growing global entanglements of ethnicity in market dynamics, nationalism, and consumption.

Currently, Meiu is finishing a book, entitled Queer Objects: Intimacy, Citizenship, and Rescue in Kenya (under contract with the University of Chicago Press), to address a growing trend that involves political and religious leaders, non-governmental organizations, and the citizenry in securing collective morality from the so-called “perversions of globalization.” Exploring panics over various objects deemed troublesome, Meiu approaches intimate citizenship in relation to pollution, materiality, sociality, desire, and fear.

Contact Information

Tozzer Anthropology Building 213
21 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
p: (617) 496-3462