Sarah Muir

Main Affiliation


Additional Departments/Affiliated Programs

International Studies





Sarah Muir

Biography and Office Hours

Sarah Muir (Ph.D., University of Chicago 2011) examines the practical logics of economic investment, ethical evaluation, and political critique, with a particular focus on social class and financial crisis. Situated at the intersection of semiotic, political-economic, and historical anthropology, her research is grounded in ethnographic fieldwork and archival research in Argentina. She is currently finishing a book manuscript entitled Exhaustion: Critique in an Era of Routinized Crisis, which examines everyday middle-class Argentine politics in the wake of a century of financial crises. She is also researching a new project called Accounting for Kith and Kin: Pension Politics, Financial Ethicsand the Space-Time of Obligation, which interrogates struggles over the restructuring of pension plans, conceptualized as key institutions of intergenerational investment and social obligation. Dr. Muir has presented and published scholarship on monetary policy and currency devaluation, the circulation of psychoanalytic and conspiracy theories, and narratives and practices of corruption. Her work has appeared in Cultural Anthropology, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Current Anthropology, and ANUAC: Journal of the Italian Association of Anthropology, and she is Co-Editor (with Akhil Gupta, University of California, Los Angeles) of a special issue of Current Anthropology called “The Anthropology of Corruption” (forthcoming). She is also Co-Director (with Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Columbia University) of the Unpayable Debt: Capital, Violence, and the New Global Economy working group. At City College, she teaches core classes in international studies and serves as Director of International Studies.

Contact Information

Spring 2018 Office Hours

NAC 7/114B—Tuesdays, 2:00-4:00 /  Wednesdays, 9:00-11:00 / Thursdays, 12:30-2:00

Upcoming Talks


Reassessing “Neoliberalism”—Department of History, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)



n.d. Exhaustion: Critique in an Era of Routinized Crisis

Forthcoming Rethinking the Anthropology of Corruption: An Introduction, Current Anthropology (with Akhil Gupta, University of California, Los Angeles) 59(S15)

2017 Recursive (In)formality: Law and Legitimacy in a Distributed Monetary System, ANUAC: Journal of the Italian Association of Anthropology 6(2): 77-83

2017 Metaphors of Mediation: Comments on Kabir Tambar’s “The Uncanny Medium: Semiotic Opacity in the Wake of Genocide,” Current Anthropology

2016 On Historical Exhaustion: Argentine Critique in an Era of “Total Corruption,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 58(1): 128-159

2015 The Currency of Failure: Money and Middle-Class Suspicion in Post-Crisis Buenos Aires, Cultural Anthropology 30(2): 310-335

Selected Recent Presentations and Invited Talks

2017 Monumental Corruption: Civic Life in an Era of Routinized Crisis—Department of Anthropology, The Graduate Center, City College of New York (New York, NY)

2017 Crisis as Exposure: Revelation, Risk, and the Logic of Serialization—Temporalities of Exposure: Publicity and Wear, American Ethnological Society Annual Meeting (Stanford, CA)

2016 The Color of Money: Everyday Arbitrage and the Expectation of Loss in Argentina—Department of Anthropology, Center for Latin American Studies, and Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)

2016 Evidentiary Excess, Evidentiary Deficit: Inflation Rates, Banal Illegitimacy, and Monetary Instability—Evidence of Malfeasance Malfeasance (Invited Session by the American Ethnological Society and the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology), American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting (Minneapolis, MN)

2016 Money, Loss, and Social Reproduction in Argentina—Emerging Economic Futures, European Association of Social Anthropologists Annual Meeting (Milan, Italy)

2016 Distributed Confidence, Intimacy, and the Problem of Monetary Value— Monetary Moralities: The Problem of Trust and the Legitimacy of Money, Society for the Advancement of Socioeconomics (Berkeley, CA)

2016 Corruption, Virtue, and Routinized Crisis: Sketches from Argentina—Future Tenses of Politics: Latin American Perspectives, Latin American Studies Association Annual Meeting (New York, NY)

2016 The Colors of Money: Arbitrage and the Expectation of Loss in Argentina— Emerging Economic Futures: The Intersections of Informality and Formality, Canadian Anthropology Society Annual Meeting (Halifax, Canada)

2016 Money as Medium of National Anxieties—Phatic Anxieties and Mass Sociality, American Ethnological Society Annual Meeting (Washington, DC)

2015 La corrupción como categoría clave de la sociedad civil—Centro de Investigaciones Interdisciplinarias en Ciencias y Humanidades, Universidad Nacional de México (Mexico City, Mexico)

2015 Currency, Crisis, and Critique: Notes from Post-Crisis Buenos Aires—The Social Life of Money: The Money Series, The Social, Legal, and Political Life of Money, The Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University (New York, NY)

2015 The Value of Money: Competing Folk Theories in the Era of the ‘Dólar Blue’— La Clase Media and Urban Life in Buenos Aires: Knowledge, Critique, Belonging, Latin American Studies Association Annual Meeting (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

2015 Crowd, Gift, Solidarity: Kin, Nation, and the Logics of Legitimacy in Post-Crisis Argentina—Crowds and Liberal Citizenship in Latin America, Institute of Latin American Studies, Columbia University and Colegio de Michoacán (New York, NY)

2015 Monumental Corruption: Uncanny Virtue and the Double-Binds of Routinized Crisis—The Discordant Afterlives of Histories, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting (Denver, CO)

Public Scholarship

Co-Chair, Unpayable Debt: Capital, Violence, and the New Global Economy, Center for the Study of Social Difference, Columbia University (New York, NY)


Forthcoming, Global Debt Syllabus

Courses at City College

Language and Power (INTL/ANTH 31129)

Social Foundations of International Studies (INTL 30500)

Global Perspective (INTL 20100)