Janet Roitman is a University Professor at The New School and is affiliated with the anthropology department.
She co-founded and directs the Platform Economies Research Network (PERN), which inquires into the socio-technical bases of platform economies. Her personal research on platform economies focuses on the role of digital technologies in emergent and frontier financial ecosystems. This project investigates FinTech platforms as potential sources of standardized actionable data that enable predictive analytics, giving insight into the development of new asset classes and forms of debt, or the future contours of “high finance” in the Global South. This project is supported by a US National Science Foundation Grant.
She has conducted extensive research in Central Africa with a focus on the anthropology of value and emergent forms of the political. Her first book, Fiscal Disobedience: An Anthropology of Economic Regulation in Central Africa (Princeton University Press), is an ethnographic account of taxation and economic regulation. This study of unregulated commerce on the borders of Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad documents emergent forms of economic value and the consequential transformations in state governance.
Her second book, Anti-Crisis (Duke University Press) is the first systematic account of how the concept of crisis functions as a blind spot in contemporary analyses of finance and economics. Anti-Crisis investigates the concept of crisis as an object of knowledge and social inquiry, demonstrating its significance as a foundational concept for our understanding and management of contemporary practices, taking The Great Recession of 2007-08 as a case study. This study illustrates how crisis talk diverts our attention away from primary, constitutional questions, such as how debt is constituted as a form of value.
She was formerly a research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and an instructor at Sciences-Po, Paris. Her research has received support from The Ford Foundation, The MacArthur Foundation, The American Council of Learned Societies, the Agence française du développement, The Institute for Public Knowledge, and The US National Science Foundation. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Cultural Economy and on the advisory board of Finance & Society.
A full list of publications can be found on Google Scholar.
PhD 1996, University of Pennsylvania
Anti-Crisis , Duke University Press, 2013.
(LSE Book Review)
(Full Stop Interview)
Fiscal Disobedience: An Anthropology of Economic Regulation in Central Africa, Princeton University Press, 2005.
"The Stakes of Crisis" (pdf) in P. Kjaer, and N. Olsen, eds. Critical Theories of Crisis in Europe, Rowman & Littlefield International, 2016.
“Africa, Otherwise” (pdf) in J. Obarrio, and B. Goldstone, eds. African Futures, University of Chicago Press, 2016.
"A Successful Life in the Illegal Realm: Smugglers and Road Bandits in the Chad Basin", 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 Right to Tax: Economic Citizenship in the Chad Basin”, (pdf) special issue of Citizenship Studies edited by Andrew Gordon and Trevor Stack, vol. 11, no. 2, May 2007, pp. 187-209.
“Productivity in the Margins: The Reconstitution of State Power in the Chad Basin” (pdf), in D. Poole and V. Das, eds. Anthropology at the Margins of the State, Santa Fe, School of American Research Press, 2004.
“Unsanctioned Wealth; or, the Productivity of Debt in Northern Cameroon” (pdf) Public Culture 15, 2, 2003, pp. 211- 237.
“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.
"The Politics of Informal Markets in Sub-Saharan Africa", Journal of Modern African Studies, 28, 4, 1990, pp. 671-96.
Special Journal Issues:
Guest Editor, Racial France (pdf), special issue of Public Culture, 23, 1, February 2011.
Publications in French:
"L'afrique, autrement. Depasse la crise". Multitudes 69, hiver 2017, pp. 173-179.
"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.
Republished (forthcoming, 2015) "La garnison-entrepôt?: une manière de gouverner dans le bassin du lac Tchad." J. Siméant, ed. Faire des sciences sociales de l'international. Éditions du CNRS 2015.
"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.