Rosalind Morris is an anthropologist and cultural critic, and Professor of Anthropology at Columbia, where she has been appointed since obtaining her doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1994. Her current ethnographic research is focused in the gold mining regions of South Africa; she previously worked in mainland Southeast Asia, and especially Thailand. In both her theoretical writings on contemporary social and political issues, and in her ethnographic work, which is focused on problems of value and the remaking of life-worlds in the aftermath of de-industrialization, she is concerned with questions of mediation—conceived in both media-technical and socio-political terms. Morris’s writings span genres and disciplines, and included essays and monographs, poetry and libretti, as well as film scripts. Her most recent book is The Returns of Fetishism: Charles de Brosses and the Afterlives of an Idea (with a translation of de Brosses’s ‘The Worship of Fetish Gods’ by Daniel H. Leonard; Chicago 2017). Morris has also collaborated with South African artists William Kentridge (That which is Not Drawn and Accounts and Drawings from Underground) and Clive van den Berg (Unlearning the Grounds of Art), and is presently in post-production on a documentary film entitled We are Zama Zama, about the lives of informal gold miners in South Africa.


2017. The Returns of Fetishism: Charles de Brosses's The Worship of Fetish Gods and its Legacies, with Daniel Leonard. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2014. Accounts and Drawings from Underground: East Rand Proprietary Mines, 1906, with William Kentridge. Chicago and Kolkata: Seagull, University of Chicago Press.

2013. That Which is Not Drawn: William Kentridge in Conversation with Rosalind Morris. Chicago and Kolkata: Seagull, University of Chicago Press.

2010.  Can the Subaltern Speak? Reflections on the History of an Idea.  Ed. Rosalind C. Morris (Ed.).  New York: Columbia University Press.

2009. Photographies East: The Camera and its Histories in East and Southeast Asia. Rosalind C. Morris (Ed.) Durham: Duke University Press.

2000. In the Place of Origins: Modernity and its Mediums in Northern Thailand (Durham: Duke University Press).

Articles and Essays

2017. 'Conflicts and Crisis in the Faculties: The Humanities in an Age of Identity,' Social Research 84.3 (Fall 2017): 601-33.

2017. 'Mediation, the Political Task: Between Language and Violence in Contemporary South Africa,' Current Anthropology 58, Supplement 17 (February 2017): 123-134. 

2017. 'Drawing the Line at a Tree-Search: The New Landscapes of William Kentridge,' in William Kentridge, October Files#21, ed. Rosalind Krauss. Cambridge: MIT Press, pp.113-46.

2016. 'Unpopular Politics: the Collective, the Communist and the Popular in Recent Thai History,' in The Idea of Communism, 3: The Seoul COnference, eds. Alex Taek-Gwang Lee and Slavoj Zizek. New York: Verso, pp. 212-39. 

2016. 'Ursprüngliche Akkumulation: The Secret History of an Originary Mistranslation,' special issue of boundary 2, on "Marxism, Communism, and Translation," eds. Nergis Ertürk and Özge Serin. 43.3 (August): 29-77.

2016. 'Dialect and Dialectic in "The Working Day" of Marx's Capital' special issue of boundary 2, (February 2016), on "Music, Sound, Value," eds. Jairo Moreno and Gavin Steingo. 43:1 (2016): 219-48.

2014. 'On the Subject of Spirit Mediumship in the Age of New Media,' in Trance Mediums and New Media, ed. Heike Behrend, Anja Dreschke and Martin Zillinger. New York: Fordham University Press, pp.25-55.

2013. 'Learning to Learn: Linking Marikana and Labour History,' South African Labour Bulletin, 37.2 (Summer).

2013. 'Two Masks: Images of Future History and the Posthuman in Post-apartheid South Africa,' in Images that Move, ed. Patricia Spyer and Mary Steedly. Santa Fe: SAR Press, pp. 187-218.

2013. 'Theses on the New Offentlichkeit,' revise, in English. Grey Room, 51: 94-111.

2012. 'Populist Politics in Asian Networks: Positions for Rethinking the Question of Political Subjectivity,' Special 20th Anniversary issue of Positions. Ed. Tani Barlow. 20.1 (2011): 37-65.

2012. 'Cinema (noir) and Vernacular (black) Modernism in South Africa.' Encyclopedia of Global Modernisms. Ed. Mark Wollaeger. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 646-667.

2011. 'In the Name of Trauma: Notes on Testimony, Truth Telling and the Secret of Literature in South Africa,' Comparative Literature Studies, 48.3 (2011): 388-416.

2011. 'Crowds and Powerlessnes: Reading //Kabbo and Canetti with Derrida in (South) Africa.' In Demenageries/Animals, ed. Anne Berger and Marta Segarra, (Amsterdam: Rodopi), pp. 167-212.

2010. 'Style, Tsotsi-style and Tsotsitaal: The Histories, Politics and Aesthetics of a South African Figure.' Social Text, 103, Vol. 28, No.2 (Summer): 85-112.

2009. 'Photography and the Power of Images in the History of Power: Notes from Thailand,' in Photographies East, pp. 121-60.

2008. ‘Witchcraft,’ Social Text 95 (2008):113-33.

2008. ‘Rush/Panic/Rush: Speculations on the Value of Life and Death in South Africa’s Age of Epidemic,’ Public Culture. 20:2 (2008):199-231.

2008. ‘The Miner’s Ear,’ Transition 98 (2008): 96-115.

2008. ‘Giving up Ghosts.’ Positions, Spring 2008, pp.209-37.

2007. ‘The War Drive: Image Files Corrupted,’ Social Text, Special Issue on War, edited by Patrick Deer. 91:103-42.

2007. ‘Legacies of Derrida: Anthropology,’ Annual Review of Anthropology, Volume 36:355-89.

2007. ‘Imperial Pastoral: The politics and aesthetics of translation in British Malaya,’ in Representations, Special Issue on ‘Transpacific Modernisms,’ edited by Colleen Lye, Volume 99 (Summer): 159-93.

2007. ‘Imperial Pastoral: The politics and aesthetics of translation in British Malaya,’ in Representations, Special Issue on ‘Transpacific Modernisms,’ edited by Colleen Lye, Volume 99 (Summer): 159-93.

2006. ‘The Mute and the Unspeakable: Political Subjectivity, Violent Crime, and ‘the Sexual Thing’ in a South African Mining Community,’ for Law and Disorder in the Postcolony, edited by Jean and John Comaroff. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp.57-101.

2005. ‘Fetishism: Overview’. In New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, edited by Maryanne Cline Horowitz, Vol II, Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp.822-826.

2004. ‘Intimacy and Corruption in Thailand’s Age of Transparency,’ in Off Stage, On Display: Intimacy and Ethnography in the Age of Public Culture, edited by Andrew Shryock. Stanford: Stanford University, pp.225-43.

1995. “ALL MADE UP: ‘ALL MADE UP: Performance Theory and the New Anthropology of Sex and Gender.’ Annual Review of Anthropology24:567-92.