Didier Fassin: "Those Obscure Objects of Prison Worlds An Inquiry Into Carceral Materiality"

Departmental Seminar Series features Didier Fassin, Professor of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

The seminar is followed by informal gathering, at which refreshments are served. All are welcome!

Image may contain: chin, forehead, white-collar worker.

Photo: Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton 


Based on a four-year ethnography in a French prison, the lecture will use peepholes and tobacco as a case for a social anthropology of objects and against the ontology of things.

Research profile

Didier Fassin is an anthropologist and a sociologist who has conducted fieldwork in Senegal, Ecuador, South Africa, and France. Trained as a physician in internal medicine and public health, he dedicated his early research to medical anthropology, focusing on the AIDS epidemic and health inequalities. A former vice-president of Médecins Sans Frontières, he launched a scientific program on humanitarianism in various international contexts of conflicts and disasters, analyzing the implications of speaking of injustice as suffering, violence as trauma, and resistance as resilience. He also investigated immigration and asylum policies as part of a collective project on borders and boundaries supported by the French National Agency for Research.

Laureate of the program Ideas of the European Research Council, he developed an approach to political and moral anthropology which he put to work through a ten-year ethnography of the French state, conducting fieldwork on police, justice and prison. His recent work is on the theory of punishment, the politics of life, and the public presence of the social sciences. Further information

Published July 21, 2019 5:17 PM - Last modified Oct. 15, 2019 9:06 AM