Niklas Hultin

Niklas Hultin

Niklas Hultin

Assistant Professor

West Africa, political and legal anthropology, human rights, law and law enforcement, small arms, information practices, migration

Niklas Hultin is an Assistant Professor of Global Affairs. He has advanced degrees in both anthropology and law. Prior to joining Mason, he held positions at the University of Virginia, University of Cambridge, American University's School of International Service, and Swarthmore College. At these institutions, he taught the anthropology of international development, legal and political anthropology, research methods, human rights, and African studies.

With a regional focus on West Africa, Hultin's research interests addresses two overarching (and often overlapping) themes: the politics of human rights and humanitarianism, on one hand, and understandings of technology and information practices, on the other hand. Specific topics that he has researched include freedom of expression, civic education, policing, banking, and transnational human rights organisations  He recently concluded a large study of small arms control and crime prevention in West Africa, supported by the National Science Foundation and the Isaac Newton Trust at the University of Cambridge.

In addition to his research and teaching, Hultin is actively involved with several Gambian civil society organisations. He is also one of the founding editors of the African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review.

Selected Publications

"Bulletproofing: Small Arms, International Law, and Spiritual Security in The Gambia.”. In Politics and Policies in Upper Guinea Coast Societies. Change and Continuity. C. Højbjerg, J. Knörr, and W. P. Murphy, eds. New York: Palgrave, 2017

"Autocracy, Migration, and Gambia's 'Unprecedented' 2016 Election." African Affairs 116(463): 321-340, 2017 [co-authored with Baba Jallow, Benjamin N. Lawrance, and Assan Sarr.]

“Leaky Humanitarianism: The Anthropology of Small Arms Control in the Gambia.” American Ethnologist 42(1):68-80, 2015

“Law, Opacity, and Information in Urban Gambia.” Social Analysis 57(3):42-57, 2014

“Conflict and Civil Society in West Africa.” In The Handbook of Civil Society in Africa. E. Obadare, ed. New York: Springer, 2014

“Guns, Anthropology, and Cultural Relativism.” Anthropology Today 29(2):23-25, 2013

“Policing the Postcolony: Legal Pluralism, Security, and Social Control in The Gambia.” In Policing in Africa. D. Francis, ed. New York: Palgrave [co-authored with Mark Davidheiser], 2012

"Resituating the Frontlines? Reflections on the Ethnography of African ‘Security-scapes.’” African Security 3(2):104-125, 2010

“Voter Registration Cards, Political Subjectivity, and Trust in Paper in the Gambia.” Journal of Legal Anthropology 1(1):70-91, 2008

‘Pure Fabrication:’ Information Policy, Media Rights, and the Postcolonial Public.” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 30(1):1-21, 2007.


PhD, University of Pennsylvania

LLM, Queen's University Belfast

BA, University of the South (Sewanee)