CollinsJohn Collins
Ph.D, University of Michigan 2003Sharing this WalkCollins Book

Professor, Department of Anthropology, Queens College-CUNY                

Powdermaker Hall 315G

Phone: (718) 997-5524
(718) 997-2885


Research                                           Books & Peer-Reviewed Publications             

Since the mid-1990s, I have conducted ethnographic research on urban “restoration” in relation to national histories and racial politics in Brazil. This gave rise to my first book, Revolt of the Saints: Memory and Redemption in the Twilight of Brazilian Racial Democracy. In addition to ongoing work on heritage, race, and ethnographic approaches to history and historicity in Latin America, I am currently involved in two new projects. The first, Under English Eyes, examines the ways Africans who arrived on the final slave ship to dock in the city of Salvador, Bahia experienced Brazil's 19th century transition to ostensibly free labor. The second, Hunters of the Sourlands, is a somewhat iconoclastic foray into human-animal relations and the politics of property and nature in the contemporary U.S. The project is based on experiences with hunters of white-tail deer, state game officials, and scientists involved in wildlife biology and planning in central New Jersey. I seek to understand more clearly how recent political economic changes have altered landscapes in ways that affect both national politics and the ecology of North American woodlands. This project articulates closely with my ongoing examination of U.S. imperial politics, which gave rise to my most recent book, a volume co-edited with Carole McGranahan and entitled Ethnographies of U.S. Empire (Duke University Press, 2018). It has also led to increased international cooperation, in the form of an ongoing research project on interspecies relationships conducted with Prof. Jorge Mattar Villela and his graduate students at Brazil’s Federal University of São Carlos.

In addition to my research and teaching at Queens and CUNY Graduate Center, I currently serve as Co-Chair of the Columbia University Brazil Seminar. From 2012-2018 I directed Queens College's Program in Latin American and Latino Studies. LALS plays an extremely important and promising role in the intellectual life of Queens as a College and Queens as a borough.

Research Focus:
  • Anthropology and History
  • Semiotics
  • Cultural History and "Development"
  • Nationalism and the State
  • Political Economy and Economic Anthropology
  • Gender

Courses Taught:
  • Intro to Cultural Anthropology (101)
  • Essentials of Cultural Anthropology (201) 
  • People of Mexico and Guatemala (205)
  • Anthropology of Ritual and Religion
  • Anthropological Approaches to Race and Ethnicity
  • Anthropology of LIfe and Death

2018. Ethnographies of US Empire. Durham: Duke University Press (Co-edited with Carole McGranahan).

2016. Sharing This Walk: An Ethnography of Prison Life and the PCC in Brazil. University of North Carolina Press. (John Collins' translation and new edition of the ethnography by anthropologist Karina Biondi and published originally in Brazil as Junto e misturado: uma etnographia do PCC).

2015. Revolt of the Saints: Memory and Redemption in the Twilight of Brazilian "Racial Democracy." Duke University Press. (awarded the Leeds Award for exemplary book in anthropology)

2014. "Policing's Productive Folds: Secretism and Authenticity in Brazilian Cultural Heritage." Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, 19(3):473-501.

2012. "Reconstructing the 'Cradle of Brazil:' The Detachability of Morality and the Nature of Cultural Labor in Salvador, Bahia's Pelourinho World Heritage Site." International Journal of Cultural Property 19(3): 423-452.

2011. "Melted Gold and National Bodies: The Hermeneutics of Depth and the Value of History in Brazilian Racial Politics." American Ethnologist 38(4): 683-700.

2011. "Culture, Content, and the Enclosure of Human Being: UNESCO's 'Intangible' Heritage in the New Millennium." Radical History Review, Number 109 (Winter): 121-135.

2011. "Nation-State Consolidation and Cultural Patrimony." The Brazilian State: Paths and Prospects of Dirigisme and Liberalization, eds. Mauricio Font and Laura Randall: Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, pp. 219-246.

2009. "Historical and Cultural Patrimony in Brazil: Recent Works in Portuguese." Latin American Research Review 44(1): 291-301.

2008. "'But What if I Should Need to Defecate in Your Neighborhood, Madame?': Empire, Redemption and the 'Tradition of the Oppressed' in a Brazilian Historical Center." Cultural Anthropology 23(2): 279-328.

2008. "Patrimony, Public Health, and National Culture: The Commodification and Redemption of Origins in Neoliberal Brazil." Critique of Anthropology (28)2: 237-255.

2008. "A razão barroca do patrimônio baiano" ["Bahian Patrimony's Baroque Reason"] Revista de Antropologia (Brazil), 51(1): 29-73

2007. "The Sounds of Tradition: Arbitrariness and Agency in a Brazilian Cultural Heritage Center." Ethnos 72(3):383-407

2007. "Recent Approaches in English to Brazilian Racial Ideologies: Ambiguity, Research Methods, and Semiotic Ideologies." Comparative Studies in Society and History, 49(4): 997-1009.

2004 "'X Marks the Future of Brazil': Racial Politics, Bedeviling Mixtures and Protestant Ethics in a Brazilian Cultural Heritage Center," in Off Stage/On Display: Intimacies and Ethnographies in the Age of Public Culture. Andrew Shryock, editor, Stanford University Press, pp. 191-224.

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