Carol J. Greenhouse

Princeton University
Cultural anthropologist; Educator
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Anthropology and Archaeology


Professor Carol J. Greenhouse is the Arthur W. Marks '19 Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. She is a cultural anthropologist studying the ethnography of the law and politics. Greenhouse investigates the discursive and experiential dimensions of state power, especially federal power in the United States, and the reflexive and critical connections between ethnography and democracy in the United States and elsewhere. She is interested in ethnographic genres as forms of knowledge, literariness, and social action. Her most recent book, The Paradox of Relevance: Ethnography and Citizenship in the United States (2011), explores the discursive intersection between law, politics, and ethnography in the United States in the 1990s. She has edited Ethnographies of Neoliberalism (2009), which traces effects of neo-liberal reforms on society and politics in countries around the world. In addition, she has authored Praying for Justice: Faith, Order, and Community in an American Town (1986), which showed that contrary to the image of American litigiousness, Baptists in a Georgia town preferred to avoid both conflict and the law as a means of resolution. Her other books include Law and Community in Three American Towns (with Barbara Yngvesson and David Engel, 1994); A Moment's Notice: Time Politics across Cultures (1996); Democracy and Ethnography: Constructing Identities in Multicultural Liberal States (edited with Roshanak Kheshti, 1998); and Ethnography in Unstable Places: Everyday Life in Contexts of Dramatic Political Change (edited with Elizabeth Mertz and Kay Warren, 2002). Her other work has studied the ancient Chinese, the Aztecs, and identity construction in multicultural democracies. She has received the Law and Society Association's Kalven Prize for distinguished scholarship (2011).

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