Dr Neil Carrier (African Studies Centre, University of Oxford) focuses here on Nairobi's Eastleigh estate, famous for its Somali population and for the vibrant commerce that emerged following the arrival of thousands of refugees fleeing civil war in Somalia in the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, while nicknamed 'Little Mogadishu', Eastleigh is home to a much more varied population than this name suggests, and among the other ethnicities (and nationalities) who live there are Oromo, a refugee community from Ethiopia. This seminar highlights their lives in the estate, from their journeys to reach it, to their incorporation into Eastleigh's economy and the sense of moral community that aids this incorporation. It also contrasts their relationship to the estate and its economy with that of Somalis: while Eastleigh is a place in which many Somalis in the wider diaspora invest and return, for Oromo, Eastleigh is generally a place they hope to survive before leaving for greener pastures, rarely to return.
About the speaker
Dr Neil Carrier is Departmental Lecturer in African Anthropology at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Neil is involved in the teaching of the Centre's MSc in African Studies and also teaches and supervises graduate students in the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology. He has been involved in a wide range of research, mostly focused on the anthropology and history of East Africa and its diaspora. He has been working on a project examining the Somali-dominated Nairobi estate of Eastleigh as part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme team, exploring the historical and cultural underpinnings of Eastleigh’s diaspora-driven economy. Neil also maintains his interest in the topic of Africa and its drug trade which developed out of his earlier research on the stimulant khat, and he has developed this interest in his recently published book 'African and the War on Drugs', which he wrote in collaboration with Gernot Klantschnig.