Associate Professor of Anthropology & Caribbean Studies
Blurring the lines between political and historical anthropology, Yarimar Bonilla teaches and writes about questions of sovereignty, citizenship, and race across the Americas. She has tracked these issues across a broad range of sites and practices including: anti-colonial labor activism in the French Caribbean, the role of digital protest in the Black Lives Matter movement, the politics of the Trump presidency, and her current research on the political and social impact of environmental disasters.
Bonilla’s first book, Non-Sovereign Futures: French Caribbean Politics in the Wake of Disenchantment, examines how contemporary activists in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe imagine and contest the limits of postcolonial sovereignty. Challenging contemporary notions of freedom, sovereignty, nationalism, and revolution, Non-Sovereign Futures recasts Guadeloupe, and the Caribbean as a whole, not as a problematically non-sovereign site, but as a place that can unsettle how we think of sovereignty itself.
Bonilla’s second book project Shattered Futures — for which she was named a 2018 Carnegie Fellow —examines the politics of recovery in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria and the forms of political and social trauma that it revealed. She is also at work on an ethnographic study of the Puerto Rican pro-statehood movement, tentatively titled The Unthinkable State, which traces how and why annexationism has come to be imagined as a form of anti-colonial politics.