Panourgia, Neni

Neni Panourgia
PhD, 1992 - University of Indiana
Visiting Professor


Poststructuralism, ethnographic  theory, exceptional spaces, critical medical studies, humans/machines, Europe.  

I am most interested in "life": bare, naked, clothed, conceptualized, contested, taken, given, suspended, sustained.  And I am interested in what surrounds life: humans who want to give it meaning, take its meaning, make worlds that this life inhabits, keep this life from expiring. And in the politics that surrounds this life and these humans: crude partisan, sophisticated intellectual, engaged, activist, philosophical. Or brutally pragmatic: in the concentration camp, in the prison, in the school (in the camp and the prison as school), in the hospital, in the cemetery. And at what translates meaning: ritual, kin, law, the body (of the patient, of the condemned, of the student, of the desired). Previously I was most interested in "death" and "the dead." And I am still interested in writing: how to write about life, how to talk and write about death, what happens when one talks and writes about their specters. I look at all this in Greece (and occasionally elsewhere). Originally at the Children's Hospital in Athens, then at the Cancer Institute, then at the concentration camps of the Greek Civil War. Currently, at the Intensive Care Unit. 

Recent Publications:


Dangerous Citizens. The Greek Left and the Terror of the State  (2009)
2011 Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing, Society for Humanistic Anthropology, 2011 Edmund Keeley Book Prize, Modern Greek Studies Association, 2009 The PROSE Award Honorable Mention

Dangerous Citizens. The Greek Left and the Terror of the State. Electronic edition with additional material and a new Introduction by the Author. (2009) 

Dangerous Citizens. The Greek Left and the Terror of the State Greek translation with a new Introduction by the Author (2013)

Ethnographica Moralia: Experiments in Interpretive Anthropology Co-edited with George Marcus, (2008)

Fragments of Death, Fables of Identity. An Athenian Anthropography  (1995)

1996 Grand Jury Award of the International Society of Ethnohistory, 1997 Co-winner Chicago Folklore Prize, 1997 Shortlisted Victor Turner Prize 


Exhibit Catalogues

East of Attica. Photographs 1930-1970 From the Collection of the Benaki Museum (2004) 


"Unsafe Texts (Mourning and Hyper Value in the Time of Crisis)" in A. Athanasiou and A. Kioupkiolis (eds.) Thinking in Crisis/Κρίση: Critical Reflections on the Contemporary Greek Politics of Exception [Forthcoming]

"Technientos: The arts and sciences of writing ethnographically" Special issue "Encounters with the Anthropology of James A. Boon Anthropological Quarterly Alexander Dent, Special Editor (March)

"The Squared Constitution of Dissent" Cultural Anthropology "Hotspots" October 2011 

"Tightrope (In The Manner of Antonio Lauria-Pericelli)" Transforming Anthropology 19.2 (Fall 2011)

"Stones (papers, humans)" Journal of Modern Greek Studies 28(2), 199-224 (2010)

"Desert Islands. Ransom of Humanity" Public Culture 20:2 (2008)

"The Stratigraphy of Dislocation: Jerusalem, Cairo, New York. Interview with Edward W. Said" Journal of Social Archaeology, June, 3: 139-150 (2004)

"Colonizing the Ideal. Neo-classical Articulations and European Modernities" angelaki , Vol. 9, no 2 (2004)

 "Conversations in Hermeneutic Anthropology" Anthropological Theory, 2: 341-354 (2002)

"Interview with Clifford Geertz" Anthropological Theory, 2: 421-431 (2002)


Office Location:
6 East 16th Street, 9th Floor, Room 927
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