Photo of Vivian  Solana

Vivian Solana

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Degrees:B.Sc. (University College, London, M.A. (University of Sussex), M.A. (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid), PhD. (University of Toronto)
Phone:6135207414 x 3571
Office:B745 Loeb Building

Areas of Interest

Political and feminist anthropology, postcolonial studies, forced displacement, anti-colonial revolutionary movements, gender, generation and transnational activism.


I am a socio-cultural anthropologist working in North Africa and Southern Europe. Based on eighteen months of fieldwork living in the Sahrawi refugee camps located in Southern Algeria, my current book project examines the regeneration of the political struggle for the decolonization of the Western Sahara. Focusing on women and youth—key groups for the social reproduction of a Sahrawi revolutionary nationalism—I examine how these constituents reckon with the contradictions produced by the political and economic conditions of the period initiated in 1991, after a UN mediated peace-process inserted the Sahrawi struggle into what I describe as a colonial meantime.

Supported by a Wenner-Gren post-doctoral research grant, my current research continues studying the regeneration of a Sahrawi revolutionary nationalism, this time through the lens of intimate Spanish-Sahrawi relations that are enabling a growing Sahrawi migration to Spain. This new project traces how an intimacy which sediments out of the colonial history between Spain and the Western Sahara produces a trans-political space that is implicated in the regeneration of the Sahrawi struggle across a transnational field.

I supervise students seeking to study questions of forced displacement, decolonization, transnational feminism, the production of popular sovereignties and solidarities, or those thinking about the relationship between intimacy and political movements more broadly.

Recent Publications

2020. “Between Publics and Privates: The Regeneration of Sahrawi Female Militancy.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Vol. 40, No. 1:150-165

2020. Poetas y Poesía del Sahara Occidental: Antología de la Poesía Nacional Saharaui, Ultima línea (co-edited with Juan Carlos Gimeno Martin, Mohamed Ali Leman, Juan Ignacio Robles Picon, Bahia Mahmud Awah and Mohamed Salem Abdelfatah)

2019 “Hospitality’s Prowess: Performing Sahrāwī Sovereignty in Refugee Camps”, PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Vol. 42, Number 2, pp. 362-379. DOI: 10.1111/plar.12312.

2018 “Renégociation des relations de genre dans l’économie de la République arabe sahraouie démocratique” in Sahara Occidental: conflit oublié, population en mouvement, Eds. Sébastien Boulay and Francesco Correale, Presses Universitaires François-Rabelais. Tours: 317-335.

2017 “Cementing Nationalism: The Role of the Sahrāwī Female Revolutionary in her Struggle for Decolonization.” Culture et politique dans l’Ouest saharien: Arts, Activisme et Etat dans un espace de conflits. Ed. Francisco Freire and Sébastian Boulay. Igé: Éditions l’Étrave : 423-444.

2016 “No Somos Costosas, Somos Valiosas”: La Lucha de las Mujeres Saharauis Cuarenta Años Después.” Sahara Occidental Cuarenta Años Después. Eds. Isaías Barrañada and Raquel Ojeda. Madrid: Catarata: 81-91.

2015, “The Strategy of Style: Music, Independence and the Aesthetics of Sahrawi Nationalism in Exile.” Journal of Transmodernity 5.3: 40-61 (co-authored with Violeta Ruano Posada). 

2011, “A Woman is Stronger than our State’: Performing Sovereignty on the Margins of the State.” vis-à-vis: Explorations in Anthropology 11. 1: 57-77.