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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

College: King’s College


I am a Junior Research Fellow at King’s College and the Centre for Gender Studies, University of Cambridge. I received my PhD from The New School for Social Research in 2016 from the Department of Anthropology, where my dissertation, “Assembling Persons: Entanglement and Fragility in American Individualism,” was awarded the Stanley Diamond Memorial Award in the Social Sciences. 


My primary research interests include feminist and queer theory; the anthropology of personhood, kinship, and embodiment; liberalism and its Others; and medical anthropology.


My research, located at the intersection of anthropology and political theory, examines how people in the U.S. imagine and practice new forms of intimacy amidst the ongoing neoliberal erosion of the very notion of interdependency. Considering these recent shifts alongside a longer view of American liberalism, I ask how new forms of American personhood and community are taking shape and what they reveal about the gendered and racialized effects of the liberal ideal of independence in the U.S. today. My current book project examines a diverse array of practices where people are sharing their bodies, bedrooms, and homes in ways that push the limits of liberal individualism with new and unfamiliar forms of proximity and entanglement: living organ donation, polyamory, and intentional communities. Within and across these sites, I track how discourses of gender, race, sexuality, and health are intersecting to surprising effect in these new intimate forms, simultaneously intensifying and transforming classical liberal commitments to independence and self-ownership. By bringing the anthropology of personhood and gender to bear on debates in liberal political theory, my dissertation research moves away from the binary framework of individualism versus communalism to investigate the kinds of collective life that are imaginable and livable in the practice of contemporary possessive individualism, and those, by contrast, that are foreclosed.

Junior Research Fellow at King’s College and the Centre for Gender Studies
Dr Julienne   Obadia

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