Juan Obarrio

Juan Obarrio

Associate Professor

Mergenthaler 461
Personal Website


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

He has received fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Social Science Research Council, American Council of Learned Societies, and has been a visiting professor in Paris, Bologna, Johannesburg, and Cordoba (Argentina). In 2012 he was a visiting scholar at the Harvard Mahindra Humanities Center and the MIT Center for International Studies. In 2016-2017 he was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton). He currrently serves on the Board of the International Consortium of Humanities Centers (CHCI).

He received a PhD from Columbia University in 2007.

Current Book Projects

  • A Matter of Time. The state of things in Southern Africa (historical ethnography), forthcoming, Duke University Press, 2019
  • Foreign Body (memoir, medical humanities), forthcoming Duke University Press, 2020
  • Los Campos Freneticos (poetry) forthcoming, Barcelona, 2019
  • The Event of Appropriation. Temporalities of capital and insurrection. (Under review)
  • Ground: Zero. Law, War, Theology. (In preparation)