Chrystel Mariana Oloukoi

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Harvard U.

Grant number

Gr. 10018

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Oloukoi, Chrystel (Harvard U.) "“The promise of the night” Nightlife, masculinity and domesticity in Lagos, 1920s-present"

CHRYSTEL OLOUKOI, then a graduate student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded a grant in August 2020 to aid research on “‘The Promise of the Night’: Nightlife, Masculinity and Domesticity in Lagos, 1920s-present,” supervised by Dr. Durba Mitra. Retitled ‘Black Nocturnal: Ecologies of the Night in Lagos,’ this research explores the historical and ongoing conditions that make nighttime one of the most embattled terrains of life in Lagos, a site in which imaginaries, anxieties and disciplinary investments converge, to the point of criminalization. The grantee conducted 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork and six months of archival research. Findings illuminated how past and ongoing colonial urban forms made nighttime a crucial site of survival, social reproduction, as well as an intensely criminalized temporality, thus marking forms of living dependent on the nocturnal economy as always-already criminal. Ultimately, this research project resulted in: 1) making visible the socio-political processes by which imaginations of nighttime as a stable object in need of discipline are constructed; 2) interrogating the productivity of logics of criminalization of the night; and 3) exploring the quotidian ways people reclaim and inhabit nighttime as a site of possibility in the shadow of the ongoing catastrophe of racial capitalism. The multifarious moral panics provoked by forms of nightlife that blur or transgress established moral understandings of time, space and subjects shed light on the night not as a given, but as a result of successive and contested projects and practices of imagination.