Christopher Krupa

Christopher Krupa

Christopher Krupa, Ph.D. (University of California, Davis)
Associate Professor, Scarborough Campus (UTSC)

(416) 208-2893
Office: MW 376

Research Keywords: Violence; state, para-state, state effects; commodities and labour; race politics; speculation; value; historical anthropology

Research Region: Latin America, Ecuador


Research Bio

Chris Krupa is a political anthropologist broadly interested in struggles over the production and circulation of political matter—the processes by which objects and categories ghost the relations of their making and take on political and social force. He has pursued this interest through his 15-plus years of ethnographic research in Andean Ecuador, focusing on issues of state formation, violence, and labour relations in agro-export enclaves encroaching upon indigenous territories. His work on the state is rooted in political phenomenology. It asks how the state comes to appear as a tangible, material, and consequential force among the governed and about the emergence of para-state complexes in places where the state’s monopoly on rule is not guaranteed. He has also sought to understand the role of emotion in generating bonds between citizen and state, the material technologies of state credibility, and the genres by which the state represents itself and is narrated into being. His studies of violence have focused on its political-semiotic aspects, particularly the ways that meaning is produced around the victim or the corpse. This approach directed my work on lynching in Latin America and undergirds my studies of Ecuador’s recent truth commission. He is also writing an intimate biography of guerrilla activity in 1980s Ecuador and its place in current reimaginings of this country’s cold war history. His work on labour reflects his long-term interest in the expansion of agrarian export production zones in the Global South and the social and political lives of populations laboring in them. His ongoing analysis of Ecuador’s cut-flower sector examines labour as a speculative technology of managing both a potentially antagonistic indigenous workforce and the wild fluctuations of an uncertain global commodity market.


2015. State Theory and Andean Politics: New Approaches to the Study of Rule (co-edited with David Nugent). University of Pennsylvania Press.

Article on the book in UTSC Commons

Special Issues
2015      Guest Editor (with Mercedes Prieto) of “Ensayos sobre el estado en América Latina,” a Special Issue of Íconos: Revista de Ciencias Sociales No. 52.

2012. Guest Editor (with Gavin Smith) of a Special Forum on “Spaces of Exception: The Administration of Populations in the North and the South”. In Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 64: 84-128. (with contributions from Andrés Guerrero, Tristan Platt, Mark Thurner, João Biehl and Sebastian Ramirez Hernandez)

Articles and Book Chapters
2015      (with Mercedes Prieto) “Corpus Mysticum estatal o ¿cómo podemos pensar el estado en América Latina hoy?” In Íconos: Revista de Ciencias Sociales Num. 52, Quito, mayo 2015, pp. 11-17.

2015 (with David Nugent) “Off-Centered States: Re-thinking State Theory through an Andean Lens.” In State Theory and Andean Politics: New Approaches to the Study of Rule. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Pp 1-31.

2015      “Cadastral Politics: Property Wars and State Realism in Highland Ecuador”. In State Theory and Andean Politics: New Approaches to the Study of Rule. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Pp 99- 125.

2013. “Neoliberal Reckoning: Ecuador’s Truth Commission and the Mythopoetics of Political Violence.” In Neoliberalism, Interrupted: Social Change and Contested Governance in Contemporary Latin America, Mark Goodale and Nancy Grey Postero, eds. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press: 169-194.

2012. “Ghostly Figures outside the Domain of Political Economy: Class Analysis and the Invisiblized Livelihoods of an Andean Export Zone.” In Confronting Capital: Critique and Engagement in Anthropology, Belinda Leach, Pauline Barber, and Winnie Lem, eds. New York: Routledge: 187-207.

2012. “Unfolding the Crease in Liberal Republican Citizenship: An Introduction to the Postcolonial Critique of Andrés Guerrero” Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 63: 85-89.

2011. “Mestizo Mainstream: Reaffirmations of Natural Citizenship in Ecuador.” In Subalternity and Difference: Investigations from the North and the South (Gyanendra Pandey, ed.). New York: Routledge: 149-166.

2010. “State by Proxy: Privatized Government in the Andes.” Comparative Studies in Society and History (52: 2): 319-350.

2009. “Histories in Red: Ways of Seeing Lynching in Ecuador.” American Ethnologist (36: 1): 20-39.

2006. Invited Commentary on Susana Narotzky “The Project in the Model: Reciprocity, Social Capital and the Politics of Ethnographic Realism.” (Special Forum on Anthropological Theory) Current Anthropology (48: 3): 416-417.

2014. Review of Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Rob Nixon). Forthcoming in Environment and Society: Advances in Research.

2005. Review of Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in Marx’s Method (Bertell Ollman). Anthropologica (47:2): 310-311.

Graduate Students

Anna-Louise Crago

Chantelle Falconer