• Hugh Raffles

    Professor of Anthropology and Director, Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography, and Social Thought

    Office Location:

    Albert and Vera List Academic Center


    Hugh Raffles is Professor of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research and Director of the Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography and Social Thought (GIDEST). His work is a sustained ethnographic exploration of relations between humans, animals, and things. Hugh is completing his new book, an anthropology of elemental things that draws on fieldwork primarily in northern places--Iceland, Svalbard, Greenland, and the Hebrides--to raise questions about the practice of substance, place, and temporality through close accounts of objects that range in scale from landscapes to monuments to pebbles.

    Hugh’s essays have appeared in a wide variety of venues, including Granta, Public Culture, Cultural Anthropology, the New York Times, Cabinet, and Orion. He is the author, most recently, of Insectopedia (Pantheon, 2010), a New York Times Notable Book, and was a recipient of a 2010 Whiting Writers’ Award.

    Ethnography; nature; writing and other forms of representation and expression.

    Degrees Held:

    DFES 1999, Yale University 

    Recent Publications:

    Insectopedia  (2010)
    New York Times Notable Book.

    In Amazonia, A Natural History (2002)
    A Choice/American Library Association Outstanding Academic Title.

    "Foundations,” Cabinet (2014)

    "Twenty-five Years is a Long Time," Cultural Anthropology (2012)

    "A Conjoined Fate," Orion (2010)

    "Jews, Lice, and History," Public Culture (2007)

    "Cricket Fighting," Granta (2007)

    "The Language of the Bees: An Interview with Hugh Raffles by Sina Najafi," Cabinet (2007)

    "Fluvial Intimacies," in Waterscapes: The Cultural Politics of a Natural Resource, ed. Amita Baviskar (2005)

    "Towards a Critical Natural History," Antipode (2005)

    "Jungle," in Patterned Ground: Ecologies of Nature and Culture, ed. Stephan Harrison, Steve Pile, and Nigel Thrift (2004)

    "Further Reflections on Amazonian Environmental History: Transformations of Rivers and Streams," (with Antoinette WinklerPrins) Latin American Research Review (2003)

    "Intimate Knowledge," International Social Science Journal (2002)

    "The Uses of Butterflies," American Ethnologist (2001)

    "Landscape Change in Tidal Floodplains Near the Mouth of the Amazon River," (with D.J. Zarin, V.F.G. Pereira, M. Pinedo-Vásquez, F.G. Rabelo, and R.G. Congalton)

    Forest Ecology and Management (2001)

    "Social Memory and the Politics of Place-making in Northeastern Amazonia," UC Berkeley Working Papers in Environmental Politics (2000)

    "The Amazon: A Natural Landscape?" Seminar (2000)

    "Local Theory: Nature and the Making of an Amazonian Place," Cultural Anthropology (1999)
    [Co-Winner, 2003 Junior Scholar Award of the Anthropology & Environment Section, American Anthropological Association]

    "Exploring the Anthropogenic Amazon: Estuarine Landscape Transformations in Amapá, Brazil," in Várzea: Diversity, Development and Conservation of Amazonia's Whitewater Floodplain, Christine Padoch, J. Márcio Ayres, Miguel Pinedo-Vásquez, and Anthony Henderson, eds. (1999)

    "Engineers of Amazonia," Natural History (1997)

    Research Interests:

    Human/non-human/non-animal relations.

    Awards And Honors:

    2018 Openbook Award (Taiwan)

    2012 Ludwik Fleck Prize of the Society for Social Studies of Science

    2012 Shortlist, de Groene Waterman Prize (Belgium)

    2011 Orion Book Award

    2010 Special Prize for Extending Ethnographic Understanding from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology

    2009 Whiting Writers' Award

    2004 Honorable Mention, Sharon Stephens First Book Prize of the American Ethnological Society

    2003 Co-Winner, Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing of the Society for Humanistic Anthropology

    Current Courses:

    Independent Study

    Independent Study

    Independent Study

    Ind Senior Project