Kathleen Millar

Associate Professor of Anthropology


Dr. Kathleen Millar received her Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at Brown University in 2011. Her work explores the relationship between labour, urban ecology, and the anthropology of well-being. Her book manuscript, Reclaiming the Discarded, forthcoming from Duke University Press, traces the life projects of thousands of urban poor who earn a living by collecting recyclables on the largest garbage dump in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Based on ethnographic research conducted over the past eight years, this work examines precarity as a labor condition, ontological experience, and site of alternative political practice.  

Dr. Millar teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on research methods, social theory, contemporary ethnography, labour and capitalism, and Latin American studies.  She is also an Associate Member of the School for International Studies. Prior to joining the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at SFU, she taught courses on ethnographic writing and the politics of representation in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University.


Recent Publications

  • 2017 Toward a Critical Politics of Precarity. Sociology Compass 11(6): e12483.
  • 2016 Book review of Living with Insecurity in a Brazilian Favela: Urban Violence and Daily Life by R. Ben Penglase. American Anthropologist 118(2): 446.
  • 2015 Introduction: Reading Twenty-first-century Capitalism through the Lens of E. P. Thompson. Focaal--Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 73(2015): 3-11.
  • 2015 The Tempo of Wageless Work: E. P. Thompson's Time-sense at the Edges of Rio de Janeiro. Focaal--Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 73(2015): 28-40.
  • 2014 The Precarious Present: Wageless Labor and Disrupted Life in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Cultural Anthropology 29(1): 32-53.
  • 2012 The Transformation that Waste Land Missed. Anthropology News 53(8): s52-s53.
  • 2012 (Co-authored with Catherine Lutz), War. In, A Companion to Moral Anthropology. Didier Fassin, ed. Pp. 482-499. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 
  • 2012 Trash Ties: Urban Politics, Economic Crisis and Rio de Janeiro’s Garbage Dump. In, Economies of Recycling: The Global Transformation of Materials, Values and Social Relations. Catherine Alexander and Joshua Reno, eds. London: Zed Books.
  • 2010 Cooperation in the Informal Economy: The Case of Recyclers at a Brazilian Garbage Dump. In, Cooperation in Economy and Society. Robert C. Marshall, ed. Society for Economic Anthropology. Pp. 175-194. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.