Mirjam de Bruijn is an anthropologist whose work has a clearly interdisciplinary character with a preference for contemporary history and cultural studies. She focuses on the interrelationship between agency, marginality, mobility, communication and technology. Mirjam is an Africanist with a focus on West and Central Africa. She did, and does, extensive (qualitative) fieldwork in Cameroon, Chad and Mali. Her specific fields of interest are: nomadism, youth and children, social (in)security, poverty, marginality/ social and economic exclusion, violence, slavery, human rights, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
In Mali she has worked in the Mopti area with the Fulɓe (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 in the north. From 2008 to 2013 she was coordinating the research programme ‘Mobile Africa Revisited’ – a comparative study of the interrelationship between Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), agency, marginality and mobility patterns in Africa. In 2012 Mirjam was awarded a Vici grant (NWO), namely ‘Connecting in Times of Duress: Understanding Communication and Conflict in Middle Africa’s Mobile Margins’.
Since 2013 she has developed the project Voice4Thought which is an example of valorization of research.
Recently, she received funding from the World Bank for a project on Mobile Money (2015-2016) in Africa, and from UNICEF (2016-2018) to develop a project on Child soldiers in the Central African Republic.
Mirjam de Bruijn was appointed Professor of Contemporary History and Anthropology of Africa at the Faculty of Arts at Leiden University as of June 15th, 2007. She pronounced her inaugural lecture “De telefoon heeft benen gekregen; Mobiele communicatie en sociale veranderingen in de marges van Afrika” (English version) on September 5th, 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.