Ph.D. Harvard University, 1989
secular ritual, law, intimacy, intersubjectivity, psychoanalysis, care, prosperity, refugees, Europeanization, Germany, Lebanon, Syria
John Borneman is among the most well-known and groundbreaking theorists within the subfields of legal, political and psychological anthropology, having conducted fieldwork in Lebanon and Syria and throughout Central Europe.
He came to Princeton in 2001 after teaching at Cornell University for a decade. His early work focused on a divided Berlin, including the first two of his nine books, “After the Wall: East Meets West in the New Berlin” (1991) and “Belonging in the Two Berlins: Kin, State, Nation” (1992). His other books on Germany include “Sojourners: The Return of German-Jews and the Question of Identity”(1995), co-authored with Jeffery Peck; “Settling Accounts: Violence, Justice, and Accountability in Postsocialist Europe” (1997); “Subversions of International Order: Studies in the Political Anthropology of Culture” (1998); and “Cruel Attachments: The Ritual Rehab of Child Molesters in Germany” (2015).
Borneman began his ethnographic work in Lebanon and Syria after arriving in Princeton. The monographs that emerged from that research include “Syrian Episodes: Sons, Fathers, and an Anthropologist in Aleppo” (2007), “Al-jinayah al-siyasiyyah wal-silm al-ijtimaei” (2007), and “Political Crime and the Memory of Loss” (2011), a comparative analysis of Germany and Lebanon.
He edited six volumes and published over 92 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. He also co-produced a 1993 film, “The Return of German-Jews and the Question of Identity in East Germany.”
Borneman received two Fulbright professorships at Aleppo University in Syria and Humboldt University in Berlin in addition to many grants, fellowships, residencies and prizes.
He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an M.A. from University of Washington and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.
2017 “Afterword: Further Questions about the Global Care Chain,” Ethics and Social Welfare 11 (3): 296-303.
2016 “Foreword: ‘Recording Uncertainty and Disorder on the Ethnographic Scene.’” In Comparing Impossibilities: Selected Essays of Sally Falk Moore. Sally Falk Moore, pp. xv.-xxx. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).
2016 “Opposition and Group Formation: Authoritarianism Yesterday and Today,” in The State We’re In, eds. Henrietta Moore and Nick Long, pp. 97-121. (New York: Berghahn Press).*
2015 “Anthropology and the Security State,” (co-author Joseph Masco) American Anthropologist 117 (4): 781-794.*
2014 Containment in Interlocution-based Fieldwork Encounters: Thought, Theory, and Transformative Thinking, Anthropological Theory 14 (4): 442-461.*
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)
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.
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
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)
1992 “State, Territory, and Identity Formation in the Postwar Berlins,” Cultural Anthropology 7(1): 44-61