Didier Fassin & João Biehl: Death of a Traveller -- A Counter Investigation

Nov 9, 2021, 6:00 pm6:00 pm


Event Description

It is a simple story. A 37-year-old man belonging to the Traveller community is shot dead by a special unit of the French police on the family farm where he was hiding since he failed to return to prison after temporary release. The officers claim self-defense. The relatives, present at the scene, contest that claim. A case is opened, and it concludes with a dismissal that is upheld on appeal. Dismayed by these decisions, the family continues the struggle for truth and justice. Please join us for a conversation between two acclaimed anthropologists about Didier Fassin's fascinating counter-investigation of this case with many current resonances in the U.S.

Giving each account of the event the same credit,  Fassin re-examines  all the available details and  interviews the protagonists. A critical reflection on the work of police forces, the functioning of the justice system, and the conditions that make such tragedies possible and seldom punished, Death of a Travelleris also an attempt to restore to these marginalized communities what they are usually denied: respectability. 

Didier Fassin is one of the most exciting and innovative figures in modern French sociology and anthropology. Currently Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, he began his career as a physician in the field of infectious diseases and public health. He then moved into medical anthropology and later developed  a critical anthropology of morals.  His books include Enforcing Order: An Ethnography of Urban Policing; Prison Worlds: An Ethnography of the Carceral Condition; and Life: A Critical Users Manual. João Biehl is Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University, where he is also Director of the Brazil Lab. His influential books areVita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment; Will to Live: AIDS Therapies and the Politics of Survival; and the co-authored Unfinished: The Politics of Becoming.

This event is cosponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study.

The event is free both in person and online, but donations in any amount will be greatly appreciated and directly support Labyrinth's events programming.

Click here to register.

  • Institute for Advanced Study
  • Labyrinth Books