Juan Obarrio

Juan Obarrio

Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Mergenthaler 461
Thursdays, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Personal Website


Juan Obarrio is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University.

He holds a PhD from Columbia University (2007).

Juan Obarrio works in the fields of critical theory and political anthropology, focusing on issues of state, democracy, law, violence, magic; and has conducted extensive fieldwork in Southern Africa and South America.

He has received fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and the American Council of Learned Societies, and has been a visiting professor in Paris, Johannesburg, and Buenos Aires. He is the author of The Spirit of the Laws in Mozambique (2014), Corps Etranger (2014), A Matter of Time: A Secret State of Things in Northern Mozambique (forthcoming), and co-editor of African Futures: Essays on Crisis, Emergence, Possibility (2016).

He is a 2016-2017 member at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), School of Social Sciences.

L’État et le Coutumier au Nord du Mozambique: Rémanences Juan Obarrio, "Multitudes" 2017/4 n° 69

Third Contact. Invisibility and Recognition of the Customary in Northern Mozambique
in: J and J Comaroff (eds) The Politics of Custom. University of Chicago Press, 2018.

"The Event of Appropriation," Uprising 13/13, Feb. 28, 2018

Multitudes: "African Externalities" and "The State and the Customary in North Mozambique"

Citizenship and civility in Postcolonial Urban Mozambique forthcoming in "The Art of Citizenship in Africa" , edited by Mamadou Diouf and Rosalind Fredericks (Palgrave 2013)

"Theorizing the Contemporary: Introduction" Johannesburg Salon, n5. Wits University, South Africa, 2012

“Remains: To be seen. Third Encounter between State and “customary” in Northern Mozambique”. Cultural Anthropology. Volume 25, Issue 2, pages 263–300, May 2010 http://www.culanth.org/?q=node/324

“Beyond equivalence: The Gift of Justice. (Mozambique 1976-2004)” in Anthropological Theory. March 2010; 10 (1-2)

“Traditional Justice as Rule of Law in Africa: An Anthropological Perspective”, in Peacebuilding and Rule of Law in Africa: Just Peace?. Chandra Lekha Sriram Olga Martin-Ortega Johanna Herman (eds). Routledge, UK, 2010.

“Mozambique: The chief question”, in The Mozambique Reader. 2011

“Number as Inventive Frontier” Special Issue of Anthropological Theory. March 2010; 10 (1-2). Co edited with Jane Guyer and Naveeda Khan

Mozambique : reconciliation without "truth" e-misferica 7.2 http://hemisphericinstitute.org/hemi/en/e-misferica-72/obarrio


Theorizing the Contemporary: Introduction
Johannesburg Salon, n5. Wits University, South Africa, 2012

Editor, Cultural Anthropology special issue on J and J Comaroff 's book "Theory from the South"

Review of Paul Khan "Political Theology: Four new chapters on the concept of sovereignty"
The Immanent Frame, 2011

Review of Bataille's Peak: Energy, Religion and Postsustainability by Alan Stoekl, in Cultural Anthropology, Volume 24, Issue 4, pages 752–755, November 2009

Review of Achille Mbembe’s On The Postcolony. South African Historical Journal, Volume 56, Issue 1 2006 , pages 188 – 200

L’Etat de Choses en Afrique. Politique Africaine, 91, 2003. Paris

Review of Patricia Zimmerman, States of Emergency: Documentaries, War, Democracies, in XCP Cross Cultural Poetics n8, May 2001.