Gregory Feldman

Gregory Feldman, PhD., M.A., M.A., B.A.
Associate Professor

Office:  1150 CHN
Phone: 519.253.3000, Ext. 2364






PhD., Syracuse University, Anthropology M.A., Syracuse University, International Relations M.A., St. John's College, Annapolis, MD, Great Books Program B.A., West Virginia University, Anthropology

Gregory Feldman is a political anthropologist interested in critical perspectives on sovereignty, action, migration, security, and technocracy. His geographic interests are in Europe, North America, and Africa. He currently is involved in three projects. The first is an ethnographic study of political activism among Congolese refugees in Canada. The second is a multi-faceted study of the “relational subject”, the (non-liberal) agent of sovereign action who is both distinct and inseparable from others. He is currently writing a book based on this project. The third is an exploration of the conditions for today’s global trends in authoritarianism and totalitarianism. He engages this issue as the editor of Today’s Totalitarianism. Dr. Feldman’s latest book is titled The Gray Zone: Sovereignty, Human Smuggling, and Undercover Police Investigation in Europe (Stanford University Press 2019). His previous book is titled We are All Migrants: Political Action and the Ubiquitous Condition of Migrant-hood (Stanford University Press 2015). His first book is titled The Migration Apparatus: Security, Labor, and Policymaking in the European Union (Stanford University Press 2012). His publications appear in American Ethnologist, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Anthropological Theory, and Social Anthropology among other journals. Dr. Feldman founded the Vancouver Society for the Promotion of the Liberal Arts. He also convened the Hannah Arendt Reading Group in Vancouver, BC. He co-founded the Interest Group for the Anthropology of Public Policy (now the Association for the Anthropology of Policy) and the Network of Concerned Anthropologists.

  • Social Theory
  • Politics, Sameness, Difference
  • Qualitative Methodology
  • Perspectives on Culture
  • Social Dilemmas Humanitarianism and Counterinsurgency Warfare
  • Politics and Action in the Work of Hannah Arendt
  • Critical Perspectives on Borders, Security, and Migration
  • State Failure Plato’s Symposium, Phaedo, and Apology
  • Plato’s Republic
  • The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt
  • Perspectives in International Studies
  • Introduction to International Studies
  • Core Texts in International Studies
  • Neoliberalism and Differentiation in Global Society
  • Security, Conflict, and Individual Agency
  • Culture, Population, and Militarization


  • The Gray Zone: Sovereignty, Human Smuggling, and Undercover Police Investigation in Europe (Stanford University Press 2019)
  • We Are All Migrants: Political Action and the Ubiquitous Condition of Migrant-hood. (Stanford University Press 2015)
  • The Migration Apparatus: Security, Labor, and Policymaking in the European Union (Stanford University Press 2012)

Articles, Book Chapters and Comments (selected)

  • 2022 (forthcoming) “Sovereignty as new beginnings: Action beyond the liberal subject, among undercover police investigators in Europe, for example.” Anthropological Theory.
  • 2022 (forthcoming) “Transnational struggles and the ‘state’: Biopower and biopolitics in the case of a Nigerian Human Trafficking Ring” In Global Human Smuggling: Creativity, Control, and Complexity in Unauthorized Mobility, 3rd Edition, David Kyle and Luigi Achilli, eds. (John Hopkins University Press: 2022).
  • 2020 “Love and sovereignty: An exploration of the struggle for new beginnings”. In Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights. Rosemarie Buikema, Antoine Buyse and Antonius Robben, eds. Pp. 91-103. Routledge: New York and London.
  • 2019 “The virtues of theory: How some academics have succeeded – big time – in reaching non-academic audiences”. Anthropological Forum 29(2): 185-187 (non-refereed)
  • 2018 “‘Intelligence’ and ‘evidence’: Sovereign authority and the differences that words make” In Bodies of Evidence: Anthropological Studies of Security, Knowledge, and Power. Edited by Mark Maguire, Ursula Rao, and Nils Zurawski. Pp. 159-174. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • 2018 Comment on Sverre Molland’s “Sedentary Optics: State Anti-Trafficking and Mobile Victims”. Current Anthropology 59(2): 126-127 (non-refereed)
  • 2017 “Politics in Particular: From Primo Levi to Freedom and Being in the Works of Hannah Arendt and Baruch Spinoza”. Contours #8 (non-refereed).
  • 2016 “‘With My Head on the Pillow’: Sovereignty, Ethics, and Evil among an Undercover Police Investigators” Comparative Studies in Society and History 58(2): 491-518.
  • 2014 “Location, Isolation, and Disempowerment: The Swift Proliferation of Security Discourse among Policy Professionals” In The Anthropology of Security: Perspectives from the Frontline of Policing, Counter-Terrorism and Border Control. Mark Maguire, Catarina Frois, and Nils Zurawski, ed. London: Pluto Press.
  • 2013 “The Specific Intellectual’s Pivotal Position: Action, Compassion, and Thinking in Administrative Society, an Arendtian View” Social Anthropology 21(2) 135-164.
  • 2013 “Reply to commentaries” on “The Specific Intellectual’s Pivotal Position” (Steven Caton, Michael Lambek, and Nigel Rapport) Social Anthropology 21(2): 169-177.
  • 2011 “If Ethnography is More than Participant-Observation, then Relations are More than Connections: The Case for Nonlocal Ethnography in a World of Apparatuses.” Anthropological Theory 11(4): 375-395.
  • 2011 “Illuminating the Apparatus: Steps toward a Nonlocal Ethnography of Global Governance.” In Policy Worlds: Anthropology and the Anatomy of Contemporary Power. Edited by Davide Pero, Cris Shore, and Susan Wright. Berghahn Books: New York and London, pp. 32-49.
  • 2010 “Many Nice People”: the nation-state, post-Fordism, and the policy norm of flexible ethnic relations in Estonia.’ International Journal of Cultural Policy. 16(2):1–21.
  • 2009 “Radical or Reactionary? The Old Wine in Counterinsurgency Field Manual’s New Flask. In The Counter-Counter-Insurgency Field Manual. edited collectively by the Network of Concerned Anthropologists. Pp. 77-93. Prickly Paradigm Press: Chicago.
  • 2008 ‘The Trap of Abstract Space: Recomposing the Russian-Speaking Population in   Post-Soviet Estonia.’ Anthropological Quarterly. 81(2): 311-342.
  • 2005 Culture, State, and Security in Europe: The Case of Citizenship and Integration Policy in Estonia. American Ethnologist 32(4): 676-695.
  • 2005 Estranged States: Diplomacy and the Containment of National Minorities in Europe. Anthropological Theory 5(3): 219-245. 
  • 2005 Toward an Anthropology of Policy. with Janine Wedel, Cris Shore, and Stacey Lathrop. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences (600)1: 30-51. 
  • 2005 Essential Crises: A Performative Approach to Migrants, Minorities, and the European Nation-State. Anthropological Quarterly 78(1): 213-246.
  • 2005 Why an Anthropology of Public Policy? with Janine Wedel. Anthropology Today 21(1): 1-2.
  • 2019-2022 “Sovereignty as New Beginnings: Action among Congolese Refugees in Canada” funded by an Insight Grant from Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council.
  • 2013-2018 “Future Perfect: The Pre-emption of Illegal Migration to the European Union” Funded by an Insight Grant from Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council (101,081 CAD)
  • 2006-2009 “Managing Migrants: Security and Labor in an Age of European Demographic Decline” Funded by a Standard Research Grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada at (59, 528 CAD).
  • Dakar, Senegal, organized by the Danish Institute of International Studies. Keynote lecture: title to be decided. Conference title “Borderwork, Migrants, Brokers, European Border Governance in West Africa” January 29th-30th, 2019.
  • University of Copenhagen, Department of Anthropology. “Violence and the migrant ‘other’: Sovereignties and judgments among undercover police investigators in an EU member state” December 7th, 2018.
  • Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels, Belgium. “Will the Real Migrants Please Stand Up? Action, and how Technocracy Renders its Citizens Passive”. May 25th, 2017.
  • Keynote address: “The structure of ethical dilemmas among policymakers and security officials in contemporary European migration management.” University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, “Changing Realities of Migration and Mobility” hosted by the Swiss National Center for Competence in Research: The Migration-Mobility Nexus. June 24th, 2016.
  • Humboldt University, Institute for European Ethnology and the Institute for Migration Research. “Are the “citizen” and the “migrant” really so different? An initial comparison of politics and being in the works of Baruch Spinoza and Hannah Arendt.” September 1st, 2015.