Andrej Grubacic Andrej Grubacic

Professor and Department Chair
Anthropology and Social Change
School of Consciousness and Transformation

PhD, MA, State University of New York, Binghamton

BA, University of Belgrade

Andrej Grubacic is the founding Chair of the Anthropology and Social Change department.

Following the collapse of Socialist Yugoslavia, Andrej left for the United States. He moved to State University of where he participated in research working groups at the Fernand Braudel Center on anarchist implications of world-systems analysis. In 2008 he moved to San Francisco and worked in the sociology department at the University of San Francisco and urban studies department at the San Francisco Art Institute. His interest in world history and anarchist anthropology has influenced his research perspective which is focused on comparative research of no state democracies and societies without a state on the world-scale. Following Peter Kropotkin and Marcel Mauss, he studies world history as a struggle between institutions of possessive individualism and institutions of mutual aid. His ongoing research on "exilic spaces" in the modern capitalist world system considers how spatial expressions of concentrated mutual aid are produced and reproduced on the outside/inside of capitalist civilization. Exilic spaces and practices refer to liminal and non-state areas relatively autonomous from capitalist valorization and state control. His principal empirical focus is on the autonomous "cracks" peopled by Don Cossacks, Atlantic pirates, Macedonian Roma, Jamaican Maroons, Californian prisoners, Mexican Zapatistas, and autonomous Kurdish communities. This research is included in his UC Press book Living at the Edges of Capitalism: Adventures in Exile and Mutual Aid, co-authored with Denis O'Hearn, the book is a winner of the 2017 American Sociological Association PEWS prize for Distinguished Scholarship. His other research interests include Marxist critique of political economy, historical ethnography, radical oral history, and the history of the Balkan region.

Selected Books

Selected Book Chapters and Articles

Selected Radio Appereances

Book review of Wobblies and Zapatistas

Book Reviews of Don't Mourn, Balkanize!

Book Reviews of Staughton Lynd Reader


Activist Ethnography I
This course will explore various approaches to activist ethnography and the complications presented by observant participation. Our goal will be to interrogate the tension between quantitative and qualitative methodologies by taking advantage of subaltern strategies of knowledge production. We will interrogate activist ethnography by examining more traditional approaches to participant observation and constructing fieldnotes against alternative, collective approaches to engaged knowledge production. Through critical review of selected secondary literature on ethnography and locally grounded fieldwork, we will examine critical ethnography, autoethnography, testimonio, and drifts, just to name a few, paying close attention to dilemmas in the field, the complications around representation, and more recent innovations in collective strategies of knowledge production. Priority to ANTH students.

Living at the Edges of Capitalism: Studies in Mutal Aid and Exile
Since the earliest development of states, groups of people either escaped or were exiled. They often established self-governed communities (Scott 2010). As nation states and capitalism developed, and particularly as new regions were incorporated into the emerging capitalist world-system beginning in the sixteenth century, the problem was not simply how to escape states but also how to escape capitalist relations and processes of accumulation that were bundled up with state control. But people still did it. Well-known historical examples of escape include Russian Cossacks (Boeck 2009), pirates (Linebaugh and Rediker 2001) and escaped slaves or maroons (Price 1996). Contemporary examples of territorial escape include the Zapatistas in Mexico (Earle and Simonelli 2005), land occupations, and even political prisoners (O’Hearn 2009). Structural escape has been identified in urban communities in the heart of Jamaica (Gray 2004), in the shack-dwelling areas of African cities (Pithouse 2006), and on the outskirts of large South American cities (Zibechi 2012). This course addresses the following questions: How do people leave the spaces, structures, and/or processes of world capitalism? Who do they identify as “the enemy”? Do they practice mutual aid and solidarity in communities or organize mainly on a household basis? Are there rules of entry and exit? How are their practices located geographically and structurally with respect to states, the interstate system, and economic structures including markets, farms, and corporations? What kinds of bargains do exiles make and with whom, and how does this affect their ability to sustain political and economic autonomy (or, provide dynamics that cause their recapture by states with which they make bargains)? And, finally, how are the outcomes of these questions affected by changes of global capitalism, including economic cycles, the rise of new leading sectors and world-wide divisions of labor, and the changing presence and experiences of anti-systemic movements?

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