Roitman, Janet

Janet Roitman
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1996
Associate Professor of Anthropology


Janet Roitman received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.  Before coming to the New School, she served as an instructor at the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques de Paris (Sciences-po).  She was likewise a research fellow with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and a member of the Institut Marcel-Mauss (CNRS-EHESS) in Paris.  

Professor Roitman has conducted extensive research in Central Africa, focusing specifically on the borders of Cameroon, Nigeria, the Central African Republic and Chad. Her book, Fiscal Disobedience: An Anthropology of Economic Regulation in Central Africa (Princeton University Press, 2005), is an analysis of the unregulated commerce that transpires on those borders.  This research inquires into emergent forms of economic regulation in the region of the Chad Basin and considers consequential transformations in the nature of fiscal relations and citizenship.  More generally, her research covers topics of political economy, the anthropology of value, economization, and emergent forms of the political. 

Her current research project, entitled “Anti-Crisis” (Duke University Press, forthcoming) inquires into the status of the concept of crisis in the social sciences, a project she has developed with the support of the Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University, where she was a scholar-in-residence from 2010-11.

Recent Publications:


Anti-Crisis, Duke University Press, 2014.
(LSE Book Review)
(Full Stop Interview)

Fiscal Disobedience: An Anthropology of Economic Regulation in Central Africa, Princeton University Press, 2005.

Book Chapters:

“Africa, Otherwise” in C. Piot, Obarrio, J. and B. Goldstone, eds.  African Futures, Duke University Press, forthcoming.

"A Successful Life in the Illegal Realm: Smugglers and Road Bandits in the Chad Basin",(pdf) in Readings on Modernity in Africa. P. Geschiere, B. Meyer, P. Pels, eds. Indiana University Press, 2008. pp 214-220.

 “The Ethics of Illegality in the Chad Basin”(pdf) in Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff, dirs. Law and Disorder in the Postcolony, University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Modes of Governing : the Garrison-Entrepot”(pdf) in A. Ong and S. Collier, eds. Global Anthropology : Technology, Politics, and Ethicsas Athnropological Problems, Blackwell, 2005.

"Power is not Sovereign: The Transformation of Regulatory Authority in the Chad Basin,"(pdf) in The Privatization of the State. B. Hibou, ed. London, Hurst, 2004.

"New Sovereigns? Regulatory Authority in the Chad Basin"(pdf), in Intervention and Transnationalism in Africa: Global-Local Networks of Power. T. Callaghy, R. Kassimir, R. Latham, eds. Cambridge University Press, 2001. pp. 240-263.

Select Journal Articles:

Crisis”,(pdf) in Political Concepts: A Critical Lexicon (Tel Aviv, New York), 2012: 

The Efficacy of the Economy”,(pdf) African Studies Review 50.2, 2007, pp.155-161.

"Queries on Cultural Capitalism"(pdf), Cahiers d'Etudes africaines, 138-139, XXXV-2/3, 1995, pp629-645.

"Figures of the Subject in Times of Crisis"(pdf), with A. Mbembe. Public Culture, 7.2, Winter 1995, pp 323-52.

Special Journal Issues:

Guest Editor, Racial France,(pdf) special issue of Public Culture, 23, 1, February 2011.

Publications in French:

"La politique de la valeur"(pdf), with Jean-Pierre Warnier, Journal des africanistes, 76-1. 2006.

"Les recompositions du bassin du lac Tchad"(pdf), Politique africaine, 94, June 2004, pp 7-22.

"La garnison-entrepot: une maniere de gouverner dans le bassin du lac Tchad"(pdf), Critique internationale, 19, April 2003: pp. 93-115.

"Etre 'Off-Shore': l'immersion de la Guinee-Equatoriale dans les enjeux regionaux et internationaux"(pdf), Politique africaine, 81, March 2001, pp. 121-142.

"Le Pouvoir n'est pas souverain: Nouvelles autorites regulatrices et transformations des Etats dans le Bassin du Lac Tchad,"(pdf) in La privatisation des Etats; Paris: Karthala, 1999, pp 163-196. 



Connect with the New School