PhD from University of Sussex and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
Julie Billaud is an anthropologist who has held positions in the United Kingdom (University of Sussex), France (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) and Germany (Humboldt University and Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology) prior to joining the Graduate Institute in 2019. Her doctoral researches concentrated on issues of gender, human rights and imperialism. Her book Kabul Carnival: Gender Politics in Postwar Afghanistan (2015, Pennsylvania University Press) is an ethnographic study of the “reconstruction process” in post 9/11 Afghanistan carried out among various groups of women targeted by “empowerment” programs.
Her preoccupation with gender and social ordering processes in postcolonial contexts led her to direct her attention on Islam in Europe and the transformations of the European public sphere through its encounter with Islamic difference. Based on fieldwork carried out in Britain between 2011 and 2013, notably in shariah councils and firms offering ‘shariah compliant services’, her research documents everyday practices of Islamic law, emphasizing the values, subjectivities and standards of behavior that are produced through routine interactions in these spaces.
Her more recent work examines international human rights mechanisms and humanitarian projects, focusing on intersecting processes of technocratic and programmatic changes in international organisations. Her abiding curiosity about this intersection have led her to focus on how emerging practices of ‘accountability’ and ‘transparency’ become bureaucratised and standardised and with what implications for the notion of ‘humanity’. These issues have been studied in collaboration with Jane Cowan (University of Sussex) through an ethnographic study of the UN Universal Periodic Review (2010-2011), as well as through anthropological research at the International Committee of the Red Cross (2016-2018).
Julie is the co-founder and one of the editors of Allegra Lab.