Shipley-Cover-SmallJesse Weaver Shipley is a filmmaker and ethnographer and is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Haverford College. He is concerned with the aesthetics of urban life, labor, entrepreneurship, mobility, and new media technologies as they relate to life under changing economic regimes.  His ethnographic research focuses on performance, popular culture, music, and film in Ghana and recent African Diasporas. He is the author of Living the Hiplife: Celebrity and Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Popular Music (Duke University Press 2013) Recent film-work includes the feature documentary Living the Hiplife: Musical Life in the Streets of Accra (Third World Newsreel 2007), the multi-channel video installation Black Star (2012),and Is It Sweet? (2013).


Narrative, Installation, Experimental, Music Video

2013  Is it Sweet?: Tales of an African Superstar in New York, feature documentary. (HDV), [Forthcoming Third World Newsreel]

2012  Black Star: The People’s Game, video installation.

2010 Believe, short narrative video featuring D Black. (Nominated for Sound City Music Video Award, category: Fresh Music Video. Lagos, Nigeria, 2010)

2010  The Wrong Man, narrative short featuring Grey and Stonebwoy.

2010 Number One Mango Street, narrative short featuring M3nsa.

2010  Labor of Music: The Making of Mango Street, documentary short.

2010  Conversations from Lagos parts 1 and 2, documentary shorts featuring Adichie Chimamanda and Binyavanga Wainana

2009  Blood on My Hands, narrative short featuring Gibril da African and M1 of Dead Prez

2007  Living the Hiplife: Musical Life in the Streets of Accra, feature documentary, (DV), [Third World Newsreel]


2013  “Digital Circulation and the Art of Repetition in Ghana’s Azonto Dance Craze.” American Ethnologist 40:2 (forthcoming in May 2013)

2013  Living the Hiplife: Celebrity and Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Popular Music. Duke University Press

2012   Sonic Work: Music, Labor, Value. Volume co-Editor w/ Marina Peterson, Special Issue of Journal of Popular Music Studies,

2010  Ethics of Scale: Relocating Politics After Liberation. Volume Editor, Special Issue of Anthropological Quarterly,

2009   “Comedians, Pastors, and the Miraculous Agency of Charisma in Ghana,” Cultural Anthropology August

2009  “Aesthetic of the Entrepreneur: Afro-Cosmopolitan Rap and Moral Circulation in Accra, Ghana,” Anthropological Quarterly Autumn

2004  “’The Best Tradition Goes On:’ Popular Theatre and Televised Soap in Neoliberal Ghana,” in Producing African Futures: Ritual and Reproduction in a Neoliberal Age, Brad Weiss ed. Leiden: Brill Press

2004  “From Visuality to Postcolonial African Politics.” Public Culture 16:1