Laurie Kain Hart

Professor of Anthropology and Global Studies
Director, Center for European and Russian Studies

I am a sociocultural anthropologist with a research focus on the long term effects on persons and communities of ethnopolitical conflict, civil war, state engineered population displacements, migration, nationalism, racism, globalization, and ethnospatial segregation. As a former architect, I am particularly interested in theories of space and place that help us understand the impact of environmental, architectural, and geospatial forces on social inequality and marginalization.  My interest is in understanding the links between macro-social and political forces and individual subjectivity. I therefore work at the intersection of political anthropology, medical-psychiatric anthropology, and space and place theory. I am affiliated with the Center for Social Medicine and the Humanities at the UCLA Semel Institute, and the UCLA International Institute (Global Studies), and I teach courses on violence, urban anthropology, borders and migration, globalization and culture, the anthropology of space and home, the anthropology of art, and contemporary social theory. Regionally I specialize in Greece, the Mediterranean area, and the urban US with special emphasis on the intimate experience of the structural violence of inner city segregation.

Currently I am working on a co-authored book, provisionally called “Cornered” (on contract with Princeton University Press), analyzing the carceral and psychiatric management of US urban poverty and segregation. We are building a theory of the “US inner-city health risk environment” working with the concepts of “structural vulnerability” and neoliberal “primitive accumulation.” The book draws on a half dozen years of team-based participant-observation fieldwork (with Philippe Bourgois, George Karandinos and Fernando Montero) in the open air narcotics markets dominating Philadelphia’s deindustrialized inner-city heartland–the poorest section of its hyper-segregated Puerto Rican “ghetto”.

I have recently published articles on inner city violence, post civil-war spatial orders in Bosnia and Greece, and on the political subjectivity of former child political refugees of the Greek Civil War. I am engaged in research on mental health, homelessness and incarceration here in Los Angeles, and on contemporary borders and the Aegean refugee crisis in the context of war and global North-South inequality.


M.A. and Ph.D., Harvard University

M.Arch., University of California, Berkeley

B.A., Antioch College


Books and Edited Books

  • Hart, Laurie Kain, 1992. Time, Religion and Social Experience in Rural Greece. Lanham, MD:  Rowman and Littlefield.
  • Hart, Laurie Kain ed., 2004. Broz, Svetlana. Good People in an Evil Time. Trans. Ellen Elias-Bursac.  New York, Other Press.
  • Vlachoutsikos, Christina with the collaboration of Laurie Kain Hart, eds. 2003. Otan Gynaikes Ekhoun Diafores:  Antithesis kai Syngrouseis Gynaikon sit Synkhroni Ellada. [When Women have Differences:  Oppositions and Conflicts among Women in Contemporary Greece.]. Athens: Medousa

Articles and Book Chapters

  • 2019, “Coming of Age in the Concrete Killing Fields of the US Inner City.” In Exotic No More, edited by Jeremy MacClancy, 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Second author with Philippe Bourgois, George Karandinos, Fernando Montero.
  • 2019, “The Political and Emotional Economy of Violence in US Inner City Narcotics Markets.” In Ritual, Emotion, Violence: Studies on the Micro-Sociology of Randall Collins. Edited by Elliot Weininger, Annette Lareau, Omar Lizardo. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. Second author with Philippe Bourgois, Fernando Montero, George Karandinos.
  • 2018 “Descent.”. The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Edited by Hilary Callan. (first author, with Mark Auslander.) JohnWiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • 2017 “The Material Life of War at the Greek Border” Social Analysis, Special Issue, “Post-Ottoman Topologies,” 61 (1): 69-85.
  • 2016 [in French] “Pax narcotica: Le marché de la drogue dans le ghetto portoricain de Philadelphie” [Pax Narcotica: The Open-Air Drug Markets of Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican Inner City]. Translated by Simon Bourdieu. Homme [Paris, France] 3 (219-220): 31–62. Co-authored with Philippe Bourgois.
  • 2014 (In Greek). Εθνικó στιγμα και επωδυνéς ατομικéς πορεíες στην παραμεθόριο μετά τον ψυχρό πόλεμο: επιστροφή των «ντόπιων» στη βορειοδυτική Ελλάδα [National Stigma and the Production of Personal Suffering at Post-Cold-War Ethnopolitical Boundaries: the Return of the Native in Northwest Greece]. In: Revisiting the Political: Anthropological and Historical Research on Greek Society. Vol. 3, edited by Efthemios Papataxiarchis, pp. 141-178. Athens: Alexandria.
  • 2014 “The Moral Economy of Violence in the US Inner City.” Current Anthropology, 55 (1): 1–22. (Second author, with George Karandinos, Fernando Montero Castrillo and Philippe Bourgois.) a) Revised photo-ethnographic version published as “The Moral Economy of Violence in the US Inner City: Deadly Sociability in the Retail Narcotics Economy.” In: 2015, Violence at the Urban Margins, edited by J. Auyero, P. Bourgois, N. Scheper-Highes, pp. 41-72. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 2014 “Reply: Situating Moral Economies.” Current Anthropology, 55 (1): 18–22. (First author, with George Karandinos, Fernando Montero Castrillo and Philippe Bourgois.)
  • 2012 “Expectations of the State: An Exile Returns to his Country.” In: Contesting the State: Dynamics of Resistance and Control, edited by Bruce Kapferer and Angela Hobart, pp. 225-259. London: Sean Kingston Publications.
  • 2011 Discussion: “Keywords: Flow” (Stuart Rockefeller), Current Anthropology, “Keywords”, 52 (4): 557-578.
  • 2011 “Structural Vulnerability and Health: Latino Migrant Laborers in the United States.” Medical Anthropology, 30 (4): 339-362. (Second author with James Quesada and Philippe Bourgois.)
  • 2009 “Taxidi Stis Prespes, Iounios 2009;” and “Proforiki Martyria.” in Anaparastaseis tis Istorias: I Dekaetia tou 1940; Mesa apo ta Arkheia tou Diethnous Erythrou Stavrou [“Voyage to Prespa, June  2009” and “Personal Testimony of a Child Exile,” In Representations of History: The Decade of the 1940s; Inside the Archives of the International Red Cross].  Pp. 278-286. Athens: Ekdotikos Oikos Melissa. Pp. 278-286. (Co-author with Tasoula Vervenioti.)
  • 2006 “Provincial Anthropology, Circumlocution, and the Copious Use of Everything, ” The Journal of Modern Greek Studies: Special issue: Ethnography-ing Greece in Late Modernity, edited by Anastasia Karakasidou and Fotini Tsimbiridou, 24 (2):307-346.
  • 2005 “How to Do Things with Things: Architecture and Ritual in Northern Greece.” In Greek Ritual Poetics, edited by Dimitrios Yatromanolakis and Panayiotis Roilos, pp 383-404. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • 2004 “Afterword: Space and Place,” in Making Place in China:  State Projects, Globalization, and local responses in China, edited by Stephan Feuchtwang, pp.183-196. London: University of London Press.