Cristiana Panella

Cristiana Panella is ‘Chef de travaux’ (senior researcher) at the Department of Cultural Anthropology and History of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren, Belgium). Since 1991, her research has focused upon the international market in African art, particularly upon the illegal trade of antiquities and on international discourse on cultural heritage (Università La Sapienza, Rome, and Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne). In 2002 she was awarded a co-tutored PhD in Social Sciences (Leiden University, University College London, University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne) from Leiden University. Her dissertation concerned local networks of the clandestine trade in antiquities in Mali, and was published as Les terres cuites de la discorde (2002). Since 2002, she has also been working on artisanal gold mining in Southern Mali (Wasolon). Her current research focuses on informal/illegal transnational trades driven by African migrants in Italy (African art, gold/gems and counterfeiting). Her theoretical framework concerns new perspectives on the value-chain model, materiality/corporality issues, relationships between beauty and properness, and political production and representation of illegality.