I am an anthropologist, currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at University of Geneva and University of Cape Town (Anthropology department). During my PhD and my first postdoc years, I worked on hip-hop music, politics, and identity in Gabon. I then developed a four-years research project about dance, migration, and identity constructions in “African dance” classes between Europe (France and Switzerland) and Senegal.

My current research is funded by the European Union H2020 program and entitled “Dance Heterotopias: (un)making race and gender boundaries through social dances in Cape Town”. It deals with the social practice of Afro-Latin dance genres and the tactile production of urban identities in Cape Town.

I am particularly enthralled by ethnographic writing, and I am also a documentary maker, often using audiovisual medias to disseminate part of the results of my research. 

My book monograph "Le rap ça vient d'ici. Musiques, pouvoir et identité dans le Gabon contemporain" received the prize "Coup de coeur" from the Music Academy Charles Cros in 2018. Most part of my papers and research outputs are accessible here:


TEASER_DANSEUSE_EN.mov from Céline Pernet on Vimeo.


Academic Interests and Current Research Projects

  • Anthropology of music and dance, rap and hip-hop studies
  • Anthropology of globalization, multi-sited ethnography, migrations
  • Identity theories, nationalism and transnationalism
  • Music, politics and religions in the Black Atlantic and the Black Mediterranean
  • Masculinities and gender in African cities

Main area of expertise: Gabon


Select Recent Publications

Under press. “Faut que ça rappe!’ Musical revitalisation, social healing and the politics of performance in the Gabonese rap scene (2009-2020)”, Global hip-hop studies, n°2.

Forthcoming. “Transnationalising the repertoires of action. A comparative view on African rappers’ engagements in motion” in Penelope Larzillière (ed.), The Global politics of artistic engagement, Brill.

Forthcoming: “Art worlds in situation. Old methods for a (new) anthropology of music and dance in migration”, New diversities (accepted).

2021. “’Kaay fecc!’ (Come dance!) Economic, cultural and intimate flows in the “dance tourism” of sabar (Senegal – Europe)’. Destination Africa. Contemporary Africa as a Global Meeting Point. edited by Mayke Kaag and al. Brill : 148-168, Online: https://brill.com/view/book/9789004465275/BP000013.xml.

2019. "A Pan-African space in Cape Town? The Chimurenga archive of Pan-African festivals", Journal of African cultural studies, 2019, DOI: 10.1080/13696815.2019.1632696. 

2019. "“Butt shakers” versus national ballet: dancing national identity during the one-party rule in Gabon (1968-1990)", Critical African Studies, (online), DOI: 10.1080/21681392.2019.1650648.

2019. “Dancing an Open Africanity: Playing with ‘tradition’ and identity in the spreading of Sabar in Europe”, Open cultural studies, 3, no 1 (2019): 347–361.