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"

A 1956 editorial of the West African Pilot decried the “menace” to society represented by people who “hibernate at day and swarm the local pubs at night.” In contemporary Lagos, middle and low-income men waiting for the end of traffic, or worse, for the end of the night in self-professed “kill your traffic” bars elicit a different kind of suspicion. I contend with the disjunctures between these two situations, but also the enduring imaginations they reveal, of the night as a site whose assumed excessive nature brings about specters of delayed, suspended or compromised futures. I explore how conflicting projects and practices of time-making, criminalization and imagination shape the night in Lagos through ethnographic and archival research, drawing together the interdisciplinary field of night studies and anthropological literature on surplus time, and domesticity. At a time when, across the world, a supposed “nature” of the night is being presented by planners, investors and scholars alike as an untapped resource for urban futures, I aim to theorize how urban residents negotiate attempts at securing meanings of the night in times of uncertainty on the future of work, leisure and domesticity, suggesting it will provide insights on global contemporary urban politics.