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Annelise Riles

Professor, School of Law, Department of Anthropology; Director, Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture

Keywords

Ethnography Bureaucracies and Institutions Law Markets Theories (Law, Economics, Science and Gender)

Departments/Programs

  • Anthropology

Graduate Fields

  • Anthropology
  • Asian Studies

Research

As an anthropologist, I am attracted to those subjects that seem most resistant to ethnographic study, and as a lawyer, I am committed to anthropology's unique contribution to contemporary legal, political and epistemological debates.  My legal scholarship focuses on the transnational dimensions of laws, markets and culture across the fields of comparative law, conflict of laws, the anthropology of law, public international law and international financial regulation. 

Ethnographic subjects that interest me include bureaucracies and institutions, law, markets, theories (from law to economics, science and gender) and modern knowledge of all kinds. These interests emerge out of my engagement with the remarkable contributions of feminist anthropology, the anthropology of science, and Melanesian anthropology to the anthropology of the contemporary. My first book, The Network Inside Out, concerned knowledge practices among UN bureaucrats and NGO activists working on "gender issues" in the Pacific. There, the problem was a set of practices (networking, debating the nature of a "gender perspective") that overlapped with anthropology's own methods of analysis. That book won the American Society of International Law's Certificate of Merit for 2000-2002. A later edited collection, Documents: Artifacts of Modern Knowledge, concerned how to bring documents and documentary practices into view as ethnographic subjects, and what these subjects might tell us about the state of anthropological theory and its engagement with kindred disciplines at this moment.  I have continued my work in human rights law with a co-authored article From Multiculturalism to Technique: Feminism, Culture, and the Conflict of Laws Style (with Karen Knop and Ralf Michaels), 64(3)Stanford Law Review, 589-656 (March 2012) concerning what conflict of laws can contribute to the theoretical debates about the clash between feminist and multiculturalist norms, and a new ethnographic project on diplomacy in the human rights field. 

I have an equally strong interest in financial markets and their regulation.  I have conducted ten years of fieldwork among financial regulators and lawyers in Japan. My latest book, Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets , is an ethnographic rendition of legal theory, and legal technicality as constitutive of markets. I also write about financial markets regulation on my blog, http://blogs.cornell.edu/collateralknowledge/ .  

Finally, I founded and direct Meridian 180, an online venue for a new genre of experimental ethnographic project in which ethnographers and experts collaborate to produce and reflect together on particular transnational fields of inquiry. It currently operates in four languages (English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean). http://www.meridian-180.org.

For more about my views on the anthropology of law, see a short essay recently published in the Anthropology Newsletter and posted athttp://www.aaanet.org/apla/fromf2.htm .  

Courses

Publications

Books

Retooling: Professionalism for the Future (with Hiro Miyazaki and Yuji Genda, forthcoming, NTT Press).

Collateral Knowledge:  Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets (University of Chicago Press, 2011).

Documents: Artifacts of Modern Knowledge, ed., (Michigan University Press, 2006).

Rethinking the Masters of Comparative Law, ed., Oxford: Hart Publishing (2001).

The Network Inside Out, University of Michigan Press (2000). 

  • Awarded the Certificate of Merit of the American Society of International Law, 2000-2001.

 

Journal Special Issues

Co-editor, “Cybersecurity and Data Governance,” (with Fleur Johns), forthcoming February 2017 Special Issue, AJIL Unbound

Introduction, “Cybersecurity and Data Governance,” (with Fleur Johns), forthcoming February 2017 Special Issue, AJIL Unbound

Introducing Discipline: Anthropology and Human Rights administrations. (with Iris Jean-Klein) PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review Virtual Edition: Human Rights (2016).

Transdisciplinary Conflicts of laws, (with Karen Knop and Ralf Michaels).  71 Law & Contemp. problems 3 (Summer 2008).

Documenting Ethics, Papering Consent: The New Bureaucracies of Virtue, 30 Political and Legal Anthropology Review 3 (2008).

Anthropology and Human Rights Administrations: Expert Observation and Representation After the Fact. (with Iris Jean-Klein) 28 Political and Legal Anthropology Review 2 (2005).

Ethnography in the Realm of the Pragmatic:  Studying Pragmatism in Law and Politics, 26 Political and Legal Anthropology Review 2 (2003).

 

Articles and Book Chapters

Beyond The Bunker and The Vaccine: The DNC Hack as a Conflict of Laws Issue, “Cybersecurity and Data Governance,” (with Fleur Johns), Special Issue, AJIL Unbound

The Politics and Problems of Expertise in Cross-national Economic Governance, forthcoming chapter in, Contested Megaregulation: Global Economic Ordering After TPP (Oxford University Press).

Polytemporal Feminism: A Conflict-of-Laws Approach to the “Comfort Women” Settlement (with Karen Knop), Forthcoming, Cornell Law Review vol.102 (Fall 2016).

Outputs: The Promises and Perils of Ethnographic Engagement After the Loss of Faith in Transnational Dialogue, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, (N.S.) 23(2): 179-194 (2017).

Afterword: A Method More Than a Subject in EXPLORING THE ‘LEGAL’ IN SOCIO-LEGAL STUDIES, 257-264 (Cowan, D and Wincott, D., eds.,) Palgrave Press 2015.

Legal Amateurism in The Search for Contemporary Legal Thought (Chris Tomlins & Justin Desaultes-Klein, eds., forthcoming 2016).

From Comparison to Collaboration: Experiments with a New Scholarly and Political Form 78, Law and Contemporary Problems 147-183 (April 2015).

New Approaches to International Financial Regulation, VAND. J. TRANSNAT’L (forthcoming 2016).

Is the Law Hopeful?  In Hope in the Economy (Hirokazu Miyazaki and Richard Swedberg, eds., forthcoming 2016).

Is New Governance the Ideal Architecture for Global Financial Regulation? in Central Banking at a Crossroads:  Europe and Beyond, 245-64 (Goodhart, C., Gabor, D., Erturk, I., and Vestergaard, J., eds.,) Anthem Press 2014.

Diplomacy and its Others: The Case of Korean Comfort Women. (with Monica Eppinger, Karen Knop).  Ewha Journal of Gender and Law, vol. 6 No. 1 (June 2014).

Managing Regulatory Arbitrage: A Conflict of Laws Approach.  Cornell International Law Journal. 47(1), 63-119. March 2014.

Meridian 180, in To See Once More the Stars:  living in Post-Fukushima world. (with Charlotte Davis)  (Satsuki Takahashi, Daisuke Naito, Ryan Sayre, and Heather Swanson, eds.) The New Pacific Press. March 2014.

Transparency, Expertise, and the Public. Review of Takashi Uchida, The Reform of the Civil Code: Changes to the Rules of Contract After 100 Years (Minpo Kaisei: Keiyaku no Ruru ga Hyakunen Buri ni Kawaru), Social Science Japan Journal 2014 17: 122-126. 

Market Collaboration: Finance, Culture and Ethnography After Neoliberalism. 115 American Anthropologist. 4: 555-569, (December 2013).

Is New Governance the Ideal Architecture for Global Financial Regulation? Monetary and Economic Studies v.31, pp. 65-108 (November 2013).

The Role of Collateral in Global Finance. Insights Melbourne Business and Economics. v.14, pp.53-59, November 2013.

From Design to Technique in Global Financial Governance' in Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), pp. 223-47 in law and society (D. Cowan, L. Mulcahy, S. Wheeler eds.) Routledge.  January 2014.

Managing Regulatory Arbitrage: An alternative to harmonization.  Risk and Regulation.  25: 4-7 (Spring 2013).

From Multiculturalism to Technique: Feminism, Culture, and the Conflict of Laws Style, (with Karen Knop & Ralf Michaels), 64(3) Stanford Law Review, 589-656 (Mar 2012).

Too Big to Fail, In Recasting  Anthropological knowledge (Jeanette Edwards and Maja Petrovic-Steger eds.) Cambridge University Press (2011).

Rāylz, Anīlīs, al-qānūn al-muqāran wa‑l‑dirāsāt al‑ijtimāciyya al‑qānūniyya [Comparative Law and Socio-Legal Studies] Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law, (Reinhardt Zimmerman and Mathias Reimann, eds.) pp. 1167-1223 (2011). [Arabic translation of Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law (2006)].

Collateral Expertise: Legal Knowledge in the Global Financial Markets.  In Current Anthropology, 51(6): 795-818 (December 2010).

International Law in Domestic Courts: A Conflict of Laws Approach (with Karen Knop and Ralf Michaels).  American Society of International Law Proceedings, 103: 269-274 (2010). 

Cultural Conflicts.  In law and anthropology (Michael Freeman and David Napier, eds. Oxford University Press 89-125, 2009).

Ho ni okeru kibo towa nanika? (What kind of hope does law entail?) In Kibogaku (Hope studies), Genda Yuji and Uno Shigeki, eds. Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppannkyoku (University of Tokyo Press, 2009).

Reforming Knowledge: A Critique of the Japanese Legal Profession Reforms (with Takashi Uchida).  Inaugural Essay, 1 Drexel Law Review 3-51 (2009).

Private Global Governance, Legal Knowledge, and the Legitimacy of the State.  In beyond the state – Rethinking private Law. (Nils Jansen and Ralf Michaels eds.) Tubingen:  Mohr (Siebeck), 183-207 (2008).

The Anti-Network:  Private Global Governance, Legal Knowledge, and the Legitimacy of the State.  American Journal of Contemporary Law, 56 (3): 605-630 (2008). 

Foreword: Transdisciplinary Conflicts (with Karen Knop and Ralf Michaels).  In transdisciplinary conflict of laws, Law and Contemporary Problems, (3) 1-17 (Summer 2008).

Cultural Conflicts, In transdisciplinary conflict of laws, Law & Contemp problems, 71 (3): 273-308 (2008.)

Introduction (with Marie-Andree Jacob), Documenting Ethics, Papering Consent: The New Bureaucracies of Virtue, Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 30 (2): 181-191 (2008).

And Never the Twain Shall Meet? An Exchange on the Strengths and Weaknesses of Anthropology and Economics in Analyzing the Commons (with Ravi Kanbur).  In The Contested Commons:  Conversations Between Economists and Anthropologists. (Pranab Bardhan and Isha Ray, eds.)  Blackwell Publishing, 266-279 (2008).

Real Time:  Unwinding Technocratic and Anthropological Knowledge.  In Ethnography and Law (Eve Darian-Smith, ed.) Ashgate Publishing 169-182 (2007).

Knowledge About Law. Entry in the International Encyclopedia of Law and Society (David S. Clarke, ed.) 885-888 (2007).

Anthropology, Human Rights, and Legal Knowledge:  Culture in the Iron Cage. American Anthropologist, 108 (1): 52-65 (March 2006).

Anthropology, Human Rights, and Legal Knowledge:  Culture in the Iron Cage. Finnish Yearbook of International Law, 108, 9-38 (2006).

Comparative Law and Socio-legal Studies. Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law (Reinhardt Zimmerman and Mathias Reimann, eds.) 775-814 (2006).

Wigmore’s Shadow. Triquarterly, 124, 186-205 (2006).

Real Time in Frontiers of Capital:  Ethnographic Reflections on the New Economy. (Melissa S.Fisher and Greg Downey, eds.) Duke University Press, 86-107 (2006).

[Deadlines], in Documents: Artifacts of Modern Knowledge (Annelise Riles, ed., University of Michigan Press) 71-92 (2006).

Introduction: In Response, in Documents: Artifacts of Modern Knowledge (Annelise Riles, ed., University of Michigan Press) 1-38 (2006).

A New Agenda for the Cultural Study of Law:  Taking on the Technicalities.  Buffalo Law Review, 53: 973-1033 (2005).

Introducing Discipline: Anthropology and Human Rights Administrations (with Iris Jean-Klein). Introduction to Anthropology and Human Rights Administrations: Expert Observation and Representation After the Fact.  Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 28 (2): 173-202 (2005).

Failure as an Endpoint (with Hirokazu Miyazaki). In Global Assemblages:  Technology, Politics, and Ethics as Anthropological Problems, (Malden, MA:  Blackwell Pub., Aihwa Ong and Stephen J. Collier, eds., 2005) 320-331.

Property as Legal Knowledge:  Means and Ends. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 10:  775-795 (2004).

Law as Object.  In Law and Empire in the Pacific:  Fiji and Hawaii.  (Sally Merry and Donald Brenneis, eds.) Santa Fe, N.M.:  School of American Research Press, 187-212 (2004).

Real Time: Unwinding Technocratic and Anthropological Knowledge. American Ethnologist 31(3): 1-14 (2004).

Introduction, Ethnography in the Realm of the Pragmatic:  Studying Pragmatism in Law and Politics, Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 26 (2): 1-7 (2003).

The Empty Place. In The Place of Law. (Austin Sarat ed., University of Michigan Press), pp. 43-73 (2003).

The Virtual Sociality of Rights: The Case of “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.” In Transnational Legal Processes. (Michael Likosky ed., Cambridge University Press) 420-439 (2002).

User-Friendly: Informality and Expertise. In Law and Social Inquiry, 27( 3): 613-619 (2002).

Rights Inside Out: The Uses of Genre in the Women’s Human Rights Campaign. Leiden Journal of International Law, 15: 285-303 (2002).

East Meets West: Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia.  (Book Review), Political Theory, 30 (2): 299-301 (April 2002).

The View from the International Plane: Perspective and Scale in the Architecture of Colonial International Law. In The Legal Geographies Reader, (Nicholas K. Blomley, David Delaney, and Richard T. Ford eds., Blackwell Publishers) 276-284 (2001).

Introduction: The Projects of Comparison. In Rethinking the Masters of Comparative Law, (A. Riles, ed., Hart Publishing) 1-18 (2001).

Encountering Amateurism: John Henry Wigmore and the Uses of American Formalism. In Rethinking the Masters of Comparative Law, (A. Riles, ed., Hart Publishing) 94-126 (2001). 

An Ethnography of Abstractions?  Encountering the New Legal Formalism.  Anthropology News 100-101 (September, 2000).

Global Designs: The Aesthetics of International legal Practice. Proceedings of the American  Society of International Law, 28-35 (1999). 

Wigmore’s Treasure Box: Comparative Law in the Era of Information. Harvard Journal of International Law, 30 (1): 221-283 (1999).

Models and Documents: Notes on Some Artifacts of International Legal Knowledge. International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 48: 809-825 (July 1999).

The View From the International Plane: Perspective and Scale in the Architecture of Colonial International Law. In Laws of the Postcolonial (Peter Fitzpatrick and Eve Darian-Smith eds., University of Michigan Press, 1999), 127-142.            

Division Within the Boundaries.  Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.), 4  (3): 409-424 (September 1998).

Infinity Within the Brackets.  American Ethnologist, 25(3): 378-398 (August 1998).

Theory in Anthropology.  Times Higher Education Supplement, Issue 1320: 21 (February 1998).

Part-Europeans and Fijians: Some Problems in the Conceptualization of a Relationship.  Fiji in Transition (Brij V. Lal and Tomasi R. Vakatora, eds., Research Papers of the Fiji Constitution Review Commission, Suva: School of Social and Economic Development, University of the South Pacific, 1997), Vol. 1 pp. 105-129. 

Spheres of Exchange and Spheres of Law: Identity and Power in Chinese Marriage Agreements, in Law, the State and Society in China (Tahirih V. Lee ed., New York: Garland Publishing,) 263-287 (1997).

Representing in Between: Law, Anthropology, and the Rhetoric of Interdisciplinarity. 1994 University of Illinois Law Review 597-650 (1995).

The View From the International Plane: Perspective and Scale in the Architecture of Colonial International Law. Law and Critique 6, 39-54 (1995).

Exotic Memories: Literature, Colonialism, and the Fin de Siécle. (Book Review) 18 Studies in Twentieth Century Literature, 18 (1): 131 (1994). 

Aspiration and Control: International Legal Rhetoric and the Essentialization of Culture. Harvard Law Review, 106 (3): 723-740 (1993)

The Alchemy of Race and Rights.  (Book Review) Harvard Law Review, 105: 779-784 (1991). 

Making All the Difference.  (Book Review) Harvard Women’s Law Journal, 14: 747-254 (1991). 

Spheres of Exchange Spheres of Law: Identity and Power in Chinese Marriage Agreements.  International Journal of the Sociology of Law, 19: 501-523 (1991).