Jeffrey S. Juris was born on December 10, 1971, and raised in South Brunswick Township, New Jersey. He died on June 18, 2020, from complications of a year-long battle with brain cancer.
At the time of his passing Juris was an associate professor of anthropology at Northeastern University, Boston. He was a highly regarded scholar of radical social movements with special research interests in how activists used technology and media to build deep movement networks both locally and globally. His main field sites were Barcelona, the United States, and Mexico. Jeff also advanced his unique method of “militant ethnography” where traditional objectivist methods are abandoned in favor of the unique theoretical insights and analysis gained through political engagement within social movements.
He obtained a BA with honors in sociology and anthropology from Wesleyan University in 1993. After college, he became interested in Latin American politics were he expressed interest in studying grassroots movements while working in community-based development projects in Guatemala. In 1995, Juris went on to graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, while working for an NGO in San Francisco called Committee for Health Rights in the Americas. It was in 1999, with the advent of World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle that Juris turned his anthropological lens to the study of social movements not only as an ethnographer, but also as an activist. Later, he would coin the term “militant ethnography” as an alternative research method and praxis based on his fieldwork in Catalonia with anti-globalization movements.
His first major book, Networking Futures: the Movements against Corporate Globalization (2008) was an innovative ethnography of transnational activist networking within the movements against corporate globalization. He was also co-author of Global Democracy and the World Social Forums (2008), and co-editor of Insurgent Encounters: Transnational Activism, Ethnography, and the Political (2013). His 2012 article, “Reflections on #Occupy Everywhere: Social Media, Public Space, and Emerging Logics of Aggregation,” was the most downloaded article in American Ethnologist in 2012, and the second-most-downloaded article in the entire AnthroSource database that year. Before his diagnosis in 2019, Juris was working on his second solo-authored book based on long-term fieldwork in Mexico City. True to form, not even aggressive brain cancer could stop Juris from completing his book, Radio Libre: Media and Autonomy in Mexico, which will be submitted for publication.
Juris received his PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2004. He began his teaching career as an assistant professor of anthropology at Arizona State University from 2005 to 2008. In 2008, he was a visiting research fellow at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). In 2009, he moved to what would be his final academic home at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Northeastern University, where he spent the next 11 years. In addition to being a world-renowned expert of social movements, Juris was a generous mentor and teacher to countless students and colleagues.
Juris is survived by his wife Carla and son Sebastian. His joyous smile and presence will be sorely missed by family, students, friends, and colleagues.
(José Martínez-Reyes and Maurice Rafael Magaña)
Cite as: Martínez-Reyes, José and Maurice Rafael Magaña. 2020. “Jeffrey S. Juris.” Anthropology News website, August 14, 2020. DOI: 10.14506/AN.1472