Yarimar Bonilla

yari square(PhD, U Chicago, 2008; Assistant Professor, SAS) Political and Historical Anthropology, Postcolonialism, Social Movements, Sovereignty, Citizenship; Caribbean, France
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Yarimar Bonilla is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University where she serves on the Advisory board for the Critical Caribbean Studies and the Institute for Research on Women. She has also taught at the University of Virginia where she was the founder and coordinator of the UVA Haiti Working Group. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2008 and an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico in 1998. She is also a proud alumna of the University of Puerto Rico.

Professor Bonilla teaches and writes about social movements, political imaginaries, colonial legacies, and historical memory in the non-sovereign Caribbean. She has been the recipient of multiple grants and awards from the National Science Foundation, the Wenner Gren Foundation, the Chateaubriand Fellowship Program, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African Studies. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the Society for Cultural Anthropology, on the editorial committee for Small Axe: A Caribbean Platform for Criticism, and the editorial board of the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology.

Her first book manuscript, an ethnographic study of contemporary social movements in the French Antilles entitled Non-Sovereign Futures: French Caribbean Politics in the Wake of Disenchantment, will be published by the University of Chicago Press in July of 2015. Her current projects include a digital mapping project entitled Visualizing Sovereignty and a book project about the Puerto Rican statehood movement.


2015 #Ferguson: Digital protest, hashtag ethnography, and the racial politics of social media in the United States, by Yarimar Bonilla and Jonathan Rosa. American Ethnologist, 42(1):4-17. http://americanethnologist.org/2014/anthropology-ferguson-missouri/

2014 Remembering the Songwriter: the Life and Legacies of Michel Rolph Trouillot. Social Dynamics 26 (2): 163-72. (Songwriter PDF)

2013. Ordinary Sovereignty. Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism.13( 3) 42: 152-65. (Ordinary Sovereignty PDF)

2013. History Unchained. Transition. No. 112: 68-77. (History Unchained PDF)

2012. "Non-Sovereign Futures: French Caribbean Politics in the Wake of Disenchantment". In Caribbean Sovereignty, Democracy and Development in an Age of Globalization, Linden Lewis (Ed.). 208-227. New York: Routledge. (NonSov Futures PDF)

2012. "Gwadloup sé tan nou!" (Guadalupe es nuestra): El impacto de la huelga general en el imaginario político de las Antillas Francesas. Caribbean Studies. 40(1): 81-98. (Guadaloupe es nuestra PDF)

2012 "Le syndicalisme comme marronage: épistémologies du travail et de l'histoire en Guadeloupe." In Mobilisations sociales aux Antilles: Les événements de 2009 dans tous leurs sens, Jean-Claue William, Fred Reno and Fabienne Alvarez (Eds). 77-94. Paris: Karthala. (Syndicalisme comme marronage PDF)

2011. The Past Is Made by Walking: Labor Activism and Historical Production in Postcolonial Guadeloupe. Cultural Anthropology. 26(3): 313–339. (The Past is Made by Walking PDF)

2010. Guadeloupe Is Ours. The Prefigurative Politics of the Mass Strike in the French Antilles. Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. 12(1): 125-137. (Guadeloupe is Ours PDF)

2009. Guadeloupe on Strike: A New Political Chapter in the French Antilles. NACLA Report on the Americas. (46): 182-84. (Guadeloupe on Strike PDF)


01:070:101 Introduction to Anthropology – This course will provide students with an introduction to the field of Cultural Anthropology. Through readings, films, lectures, and discussions we will examine the orienting concepts of cultural analysis, the ethical implications and methodological challenges of ethnographic research, and the political and intellectual value of practicing anthropology within and beyond academe. View Course site: https://anth101.wordpress.com

01:070:304 Political Anthropology – This course will examine various processes of opposition, resistance, and revolution. The first half of the course will survey foundational works of political theory, while the second half will examine political practice from an ethnographic perspective with an eye towards the lived experience of political participation and the formation (and transformation) of resisting subjects. Over the course of the semester students will conduct individual research on contemporary social movements and for their final project they will think creatively about emerging political agendas for the future.

01:070:518 Power, State, Nation – This graduate seminar is guided by a series of methodological questions: if we understand Power, State, and Nation as sets of 
relationships (rather than ontological realities), then what are the processes and practices through which these relationships are constituted? Through which institutions and practices do the State, the Nation, and their tools of governance become manifest in the lives of denizens? Through what process are citizens produced and denied? And how can we examine those relationships ethnographically? The first half of the course will examine conceptual debates regarding the study of modern states, nations, and forms of governance—with critical attention to the underlying assumptions of modern political life. The second half of the course will feature ethnographic analysis of the lived experience of citizenship, sovereignty, and both national and international governance. The course is designed for students who intend to conduct ethnographic research on related topics, and will explore the vexed problems that arise when studying topics that are simultaneously analytical categories, historically and culturally located terms, and fields of social life. View Course site: https://powerstatenation.wordpress.com/

01:070:605 The Anthropology of Sovereignty – The concept of sovereignty has become central to theorists across a broad range of academic disciplines, fueled in part by recent debates over globalization, transnationalism, international human rights, and the global war on terrorism. Much of this scholarship suggests that we have entered a new era in which political and economic power is being deployed in unprecedented ways across national boundaries and where non-state actors increasingly take up what were long thought to be the privileged duties of state governments. In this class we will examine these arguments with a critical eye, placing them within larger, more complicated, genealogies of political authority. Rather than assuming a current moment of "exception," where sovereignty has become detached from the nation state, we will approach sovereignty as a conceptual framework for thinking about how national boundaries, territorial jurisdictions, political communities, and economic institutions are continuously being forged and contested.

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