Prof. dr. M.E. (Mirjam) de Bruijn

  • Professor
  • Anthropology and History of Africa

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 8546
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Institute for History, Afrika studies
Office Address: Johan Huizingagebouw
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 1.36
Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 3360
Faculty / Department: Afrika-Studiecentrum, Wetenschappelijke staf
Office Address: Pieter de la Court gebouw
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 3B55


Mirjam de Bruijn is an anthropologist whose work has a clearly interdisciplinary character. She has done fieldwork in Cameroon, Chad and Mali and an important theme throughout is how people manage risk (drought, war, etc.) in both rural and urban areas. She focuses on the interrelationship between agency, marginality, mobility and communication. Her specific fields of interest are: nomadism, youth and children, social (in)security, poverty, marginality/social and economic exclusion, violence, slavery, and human rights, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

In Mali she worked in the Mopti area with the Fulbe (Peul) and in Menaka with the Tamacheck (Tuareg), while in Chad she has worked in N'djamena (the capital) and in Central Chad with Hadjerai and Arab groups. In Cameroon she works in the Grassfields and the north. From 2008 to 2013 she has been co-ordinating the research programme ‘Mobile Africa Revisited’,  a comparative study of the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and ICT's interrelationship with agency, marginality and mobility patterns in Central and West Africa. In 2012 Mirjam was awarded a Vici grant (NWO), ‘Connecting in times of duress: understanding communication and conflict in Middle Africa’s mobile margins’. 

Dr Mirjam de Bruijn has been appointed Professor of Contemporary History and Anthropology of Africa at the Faculty of Arts at Leiden University as of 15 June 2007. She pronounced her inaugural lecture "De telefoon heeft benen gekregen; Mobiele communicatie en sociale veranderingen in de marges van Afrika" on september 5, 2008.

As of August 2010 Mirjam de Bruijn has been appointed honorary fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cape Town, South Africa.



Key publications

  • De Bruijn, M.E, I Brinkman, F Nyamnjoh (2013) Side@Ways, Marginality and communication in Africa, Cameroon/Leiden: Langaa/ASC.

  • De Bruijn, M.E. & R. Van Dijk (2012) Connecting and Change in African Societies: Examples of ‘ethnographies of linking’ in Anthropology, Anthropologica, 54: 45-59.

  • De Bruijn M.E. & R. Van Dijk (eds) (2012) The social life of connectivity in Africa, Palgrave/Mac Millan.

  • De Bruijn, M.E. & I. Brinkman (2011) ‘”Communicating Africa". Researching Mobile Kin Communities, Communication Technologies, and Social Transformation in Angola and Cameroon’, Autrepart (57/58).

  • M.E. Bruijn and J.W.M. van Dijk, 'The multiple experiences of civil war in the Guera region of Chad, 1965-1990'
    In: Sociologus, vol. 57, no. 1, pp. 61-98, 2007.

  • M.E. de Bruijn and N. Djindil, 'État nutritionnel et histoire de vie des "enfants de la rue" à N'Djamena (Tchad)'
    In: Psychopathologie Africaine 2005-2006, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 183-211, 2006.

  • M.E. de Bruijn, R.A. van Dijk and D.W.J. Foeken (eds.), Mobile Africa : changing patterns of movement in Africa and beyond, Leiden [etc.]: Brill, African dynamics ; vol. 1, 2001.

  • M.E. de Bruijn and J.W.M. van Dijk, Arid ways : cultural understandings of insecurity in Fulbe society, Central Mali, Wageningen: CERES, CERES-series ; no. 1, 1995.  

More information

Webpage ASC
Research programme Mobile Africa Revisited

Last Modified: 10-12-2015