Assistant Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Durham University


Pauline Destrée is an anthropologist working on energy infrastructures, climate change and postcolonial politics in Ghana. She is currently working on a book manuscript on questions of energy, responsibility and inequality in Takoradi, Ghana’s new Oil City. Her previous research looked at the politics of electricity and the popular imagination of infrastructure in Accra during an energy crisis (known as ‘Dumsor’), based on an ethnography of the National Electricity Company.

She holds a particular commitment to integrating creative writing and visual arts into her ethnographic practice, and to reaching outside academia for collaborative forms of thinking and knowledge-making. She is currently working on a collaborative cli-fi (climate fiction) project with energy policymakers and young writers in West Africa.

She holds a PhD from University College London, an MSc in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology from the University of Oxford and a BSc in Anthropology from UCL, and was previously a Visiting Scholar in African Studies at Yale University.  

Selected publications

Destree, P. 2023. ‘We work for the Devil’: Oil extraction, kinship and the fantasy of time on the offshore frontier  Critique of Anthropology

Destrée, P. 2022. Contentious connections: infrastructure, dignity, and collective life in Accra, Ghana  Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Destrée, P. 2021.  Solar for the Few: Stranded Renewables and Green Enclaves in Ghana. Focaalblog.

Destrée, P. 2018. Book Review: Danny Hoffman’s Monrovia Modern: urban form and political imagination in Liberia, Duke University Press. Allegra Lab’s #Review.

Destrée, P. 2017. Accra: Beauty Blue. Cultural Anthropology, Theorizing the Contemporary. Special Issue: Our lives with electric things, “Electric Illuminations”.