Karen Tranberg Hansen



Professor Emerita




Northwestern University


Karen Tranberg Hansen retired as Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University in August 2012. She is an urban and economic anthropologist, focusing on Africa. Her research concerns the material, social, and cultural dimensions of urban livelihoods in the context of historical, regional, and global dynamics. Her books include: Distant Companions: Servants and Employers in Zambia 1900-1985 (Cornell 1989), Keeping House in Lusaka (Columbia 1997), Salaula: The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia (Chicago, 2000), and the edited book African Encounters with Domesticity (Rutgers 1992). She co-edited, with Mariken Vaa, Reconsidering Informality: Perspectives from Urban Africa (Nordic Africa Institute (2004) and is the lead author of Youth and the City in the Global South (Indiana 2008). She edited, with D. Soyini Madison, African Dress: Agency, Power, Performance (Bloomsbury 2013), and with Walter E. Little and B. Lynne Milgram, Street Economies in the Urban Global South (SAR Press, 2013).