Karen Faulk

Visiting Assistant Professor
Ph.D.: University of Michigan, 2008
Department Member Since: 2009


Dr. Faulk specializes in political and legal anthropology, with a focus on social activism in Latin America. Her recently completed book is entitled In the Wake of Neoliberalism: Citizenship and Human Rights in Argentina. This book traces the language of rights in Argentina over the past few decades. Given the prominent role that Argentina and Argentine scholars and activists have played in the development of inter- and transnational rights institutions and discourse and the intensification of human rights discourse in Argentina in recent years, this book takes an essential step by exploring the ways violations of rights are conceived in post-dictatorship Argentina. In doing so, the book is concerned with the ways in which the inherently liberal notion of human rights is partially absorbed but also contested by local groups, who reject the individualist and universalist tendencies embedded in transnational human rights doctrine. In this, it contributes to the growing body of literature that documents the articulations and reconfigurations of transnational human rights in local contexts. The book’s distinctive contribution is to examine how concepts of impunity and corruption provide the discursive tools by which local organizations contest the individualism of transnational human rights, and its elision of economic rights in favor of political rights. Fundamentally, the book is concerned with the complex interrelationship of the discourse of human rights and the neoliberal project. In exploring the way in which “rights talk” is used and adapted locally by various activist groups, the book looks at the mutually formative and contentious interactions between ideas of human rights, rights of citizenship, and the concrete and envisioned social relationships that form the basis for social activism in the wake of neoliberalism.

Dr. Faulk is currently pursuing a comparative study of workers’ cooperatives formed around the recycling industry during the period of neoliberal reform in Argentina, Colombia, and Brazil. She also works with the local Latina population, particularly on their experiences giving birth in US hospitals.

selected Publications

In the Wake of Neoliberalism: Citizenship and Human Rights in Argentina, Stanford University Press, 2012.
“Solidarity and Accountability: Rethinking Citizenship and Human Rights,” in Human Rights: Critical Dialogues, Mark Goodale, ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2012.
“Stitching curtains, grinding plastic: The transformation of workers and things in Buenos Aires,” in Marginal Conversions: Material, Moral and Monetary Transformations. Josh Reno and Catherine Alexander, eds. London: Zed books, forthcoming in 2011.
“'If they touch one of us, they touch all of us': Cooperativism as a Counterlogic to Neoliberal Capitalism.” Anthropological Quarterly, Summer 2008.
Writing as a Magical Act: Tracing Histories of Violence and Cocaine in Colombia,” review essay in consideration of Law in a Lawless Land and My Cocaine Museum by Michael Taussig. PoLAR (Political and Legal Anthropology Review), Fall 2008.

Courses Taught

Perspectives on Social Protest
World Citizenships
Democracy and Development in Latin America
Dilemmas and Controversies in Anthropology

Contact Info

Department of History
Wean Hall 8101
P: 412.268.2917
F: 412.268.1019