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Janet Smith

Photo of Janet Smith

M.S./Ph.D. Student

Janet has worked in West Africa for more than five years as a Peace Corps volunteer, aid worker, and researcher attaining advanced language proficiencies in French and Bambara. She is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and has received funding from the Social Science Research Council and Einaudi Center to conduct her Masters and pre-dissertation research on Franco-Arab educational institutions in Burkina Faso.


While living in the home of a Islamic teacher and local leader in Mali, Janet became interested in how local Islamic networks provided social services such as food, employment and basic infrastructures to community members. This experience shaped her broad interests in Islamic humanitarianism, globalization, and economic development.


Janet's research focuses on ethnographic investigations into the actual practices of the Islamic Finance and Banking industry in the emerging hub of Dakar, Senegal. Drawing form critical development studies, social studies of finance and global Islam studies, she aims to explore how the industry is building on and reshaping existing ideals of money, economic development and religion in Dakar.