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Money Has No Smell

The Africanization of New York City

In February 1999 the tragic New York City police shooting of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed street vendor from Guinea, brought into focus the existence of West African merchants in urban America. In Money Has No Smell, Paul Stoller offers us a more complete portrait of the complex lives of West African immigrants like Diallo, a portrait based on years of research Stoller conducted on the streets of New York City during the 1990s.

Blending fascinating ethnographic description with incisive social analysis, Stoller shows how these savvy West African entrepreneurs have built cohesive and effective multinational trading networks, in part through selling a simulated Africa to African Americans. These and other networks set up by the traders, along with their faith as devout Muslims, help them cope with the formidable state regulations and personal challenges they face in America. As Stoller demonstrates, the stories of these West African traders illustrate and illuminate ongoing debates about globalization, the informal economy, and the changing nature of American communities.

232 pages | 15 halftones, 2 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2001

African Studies

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Sociology: General Sociology, Race, Ethnic, and Minority Relations, Urban and Rural Sociology

Table of Contents

Prologue: Money Has No Smell
1. A Slow Afternoon at the Harlem Market
2. Urban Intersections/Existential Crossroads
3. The Way of the Jaguar
4. African/Asian/Uptown/Downtown
5. Afrocentric Marketing
6. Regulating Urban Life
7. The Spatial Politics of African Trading in Harlem
8. City Life
Epilogue: Issifi’s Path

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