Director of Graduate Studies
Ph.D. Harvard University, 1989
126 Aaron Burr Hall
Office hours:Mon 4:30-5:30; Fri 1:00-2:00 & by appt.
secular ritual, law, intimacy, intersubjectivity, psychoanalysis, care, prosperity, Europeanization, Germany, Lebanon, Syria
John Borneman is Professor of Anthropology and currently Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Anthropology. He received his Ph.D. in 1989 from Harvard University, and taught at Cornell University from 1991-2001. He has been guest professor in Sweden, Norway, and France, and has served as Senior Fulbright Professor at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and the University of Aleppo, Syria. He served on the executive board of the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften in Vienna (1999-2008), and currently Chairs the Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle.
Borneman has conducted fieldwork in Germany and Central Europe, and in Lebanon and Syria. His research focuses on two sets of relationships: on the relation of the state and law to intimacy and practices of care; and on the relation of political identification, belonging, and authority to forms of justice, accountability, and regime change. He also works on questions of epistemology and knowledge in the public sphere, and on psychoanalytic understandings of the self, group formation, and political form. His publications include Belonging in the Two Berlins: Kin, State, Nation (1992), Settling Accounts: Violence, Justice, and Accountability in Postsocialist States (1997), Syrian Episodes: Sons, Fathers, and an Anthropologist in Aleppo (2007), al-jinayah al-siyasiyyah wal-silm al-ijtimae. (Political Crime and Social Peace) (2007), Political Crime and the Memory of Loss: Events of Closure, Rites of Repetition, and Accountability (2011), and he is the co-editor of Being There: The Fieldwork Encounter and The Making of Truth (2009).
He teaches courses on the self, intersubjectivity, revolution, memory, psychoanalysis, and social theory.
His most recent research (Cruel Attachments, to be published in March with Unviersity of Chicago Press) focuses on the rehabilitation of child molesters through therapy and imprisonment. Cast as the most incorrigible of criminal types, the domestic version of the international terrorist, the sex offender is situated outside the moral limits of the human. He examines rehabilitation as a modern secular ritual, caught between a legal system that demands therapists effect a transformation of the inner state of the sex offender and a public that is extremely skeptical of the efficacy of such ritual rehabilitation. Moreover, everyday language tends to frame child sex offenders in moral terms borrowed from religious ritual and centered around evil, the taking of souls, and redemption.
His next project concerns the elimination of sacred spaces and the use of transformative objects.
|2014||“Schwimmbecken und Pornokinos. Wovon wollen Töchter und Söhne sich eigentlich befreien?” Mittelweg 36 23 (3): 79-88.|
|2014||“Abandonment and Victory in Relations with the Dead,” Governing the Dead, ed. Finn Stepputat, pp. 227-249. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.|
|2014||State, Anthropological Aspects, International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. (London: Elsevier Science Ltd.)|
|2013||"Intimacy, Disclosure, and Marital Normativity," Intimacies: A new world of relational life, eds. Alan Frank, Patricia Ticineto Clough and Steven Seidman, pp. 117-129. (New York: Routledge Press)|
|2012||"Und nach den Tyrannen? Macht, Verwandtschaft und Gemeinschaft in der Arabellion," La Lettre International 98 (Fall): 33-48 (translated by Martin Zillinger and Daniele Saracino)|
|2012||"Border Regimes, the Circulation of Violence and the Neo-authoritarian Turn," A Companion to Border Studies, ed. Thomas Wilson and Hastings Donan, pp. 119-136. (N.Y.: Wiley)|
|2012||Incest, the Child, and the Despotic Father," Current Anthropology, Vol. 53 (2) (April):181-203, with commentary and response|
|2011||"Daydreaming, Intimacy, and the Intersubjective Third in Fieldwork Encounters in Syria," American Ethnologist 38 (2):234-248 * (2013 Boyer Prize Winner, Society for Psychological Anthropology)|
|2010||"European Rituals of Initiation and the Production of Men," Social Anthropology 18 (3):289-301*|
|2010||"Mutual Subject-Discovery in Syrian Encounters," in Kontaktzonen, ed. Christoph Wulf and Gerald Blaschke, pp. 120-136. (Berlin: Akademie Verlag)|
|2009||"Dozenten-'Evaluierung' und die Universität. Partizipation und Rechenschaft in den Demokratien der USA, Großbritaniens und Österreichs (Teacher 'Evaluations' and the University: Participation and Accountability in the US, the UK, and Austrian Democracies)," in Erziehung und Demokratie: Europäische, islamische und arabische Länder im Dialog, ed. Christoph Wulf, Fathi Tikri, Jacques Poulain, pp. 253-270. (Berlin: Akademie Verlag)|
|2009||"Veiling and Women's Intelligibility," Cardozo Law Review 30: 6: 2745-2760*|
|2009||"Terror, Compassion, and the Limits of Identification," in Violence: Anthropological Encounters, ed. Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi, pp. 119-134. (London: Berg Publishers)*|
|2008||"A Scrap of Cloth," London Review of Books 30 (24): 13-14*|
|2007||"The State of War Crimes following the Israeli-Hezbollah War," Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 25 (2): 274-289*|
|2007||"On Money and the Memory of Loss," in Restitution and Memory: Historical Remembrance and Material Restitution in Europe, ed. Dan Diner and Gotthart Wunberg, (New York: Berghahn Books)*|
|2007||"North Korea, South Korea: One Korea and the Relevance of German Unification," 344-364, in The Partition Motif in Contemporary Conflicts, ed. Eyal Ben-Ari, Smita Tewari Jassal. (N.Y.: Sage)|
|2006||"Postscript: Reflections on Totemism Tomorrow: Horse Breeds and Breeding in the United States and "France," 351-365. And reprint of "Race, Ethnicity, Species, Breed: Totemism and Horse Breed Classification in America," 319-350, in Modes of Comparison: Theory and Practice, ed. Aram Yengoyan (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press)*|
|2006||"Kiss Daddy! A Syrian son longs to be an American," Granta 93 (Spring): 185-200|
|2005||“Public Apologies as Performative Redress,” Johns Hopkins SAIS Review of International Affairs 25 (2): 53-66, special issue “Pride and Guilt in International Relations”|
|2005||“The Weather Where We Are (Sri Lanka),” Granta 91 (Fall): 227-233.|
|2003||“Is The United States Europe’s Other? American Ethnologist 30 (4): 487-507, with commentaries by Ostendorf, Rabinow, Schiller, Bowman, Ickstadt, and my rejoinder “Someone won the war!”|
|2002||"Reconciliation after Ethnic Cleansing: Listening, Retribution, and Affiliation," Public Culture 14(2): 281-304.* Commentary and Response to Laura Nader, Richard Falk, Richard Wilson, and Seven Sampson, “Why Reconciliation: A Response to Critics,” Public Culture (2003) 15 (1): 197-206|
|2001||"Caring and To Be Cared For: Displacing Marriage, Kinship, Gender, and Sexuality," 29-46, in The Ethics of Kinship, ed. James Faubion. (New Jersey: Rowland and Littlefield)|
|2000||“Politics without a Head: Is the Love Parade a New Form of Political Identification?” (co-author Stefan Senders), Cultural Anthropology 15 (2):294-317*|
|1997||"Europeanization," Annual Review of Anthropology 26: 487-514 (co-author Nick Fowler)|
|1996||"Until Death Do Us Part: Marriage/Death in Anthropological Discourse," featured article: issues in debate, American Ethnologist 23 (2): 215-238*|
|1992||“State, Territory, and Identity Formation in the Postwar Berlins,” Cultural Anthropology 7(1): 44-61|
|1988||"Race, Ethnicity, Species, Breed: Totemism and Horse Breed Classification in America," Comparative Studies in Society and History 30 (1): 25-51|