Paul Rabinow, In Memoriam

Job title: 
Professor Emeritus

After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Rabinow joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1978 until his retirement in 2019. During his more than four decades at Berkeley, Rabinow’s scholarship and pedagogy traversed such diverse lines of inquiry as the anthropology of reason, medical anthropology and the ramifications of synthetic biology. He passed away from cancer on April 6, 2021. 

His seminal Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco, published in 1977was considered a model for conducting ethnographies and fieldwork. In the 1990s, Rabinow coined the concept of biosociality as the shared experience of sickness and suffering, particularly with respect to the AIDS epidemic.

Rabinow’s critically acclaimed writings include Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics (1983), which he co-wrote with UC Berkeley philosopher Hubert Dreyfus; The Foucault Reader (1984); Making PCR: A Story of Biotechnology (1993); Essays on the Anthropology of Reason (1996); French DNA: Trouble in Purgatory (1999); Anthropos Today: Reflections on Modern Equipment (2003); and Marking Time: On the Anthropology of the Contemporary (2007).