my name: eli thorkelson.
how to reach me: eli.thorkelson at gmail dot com.
see also: curriculum vitae.

self portrait

I’m an ethnographer currently editing Academography and working on a book, Disappointed Utopia: Radical Philosophy in Postcolonial France. Last year I had a faculty position at Stellenbosch University, and I’m still affiliated with Stellenbosch as a Research Fellow. I got my PhD in anthropology at the University of Chicago, and right now I live in Cleveland.

My research is about education, labor, politics and the history of subjectivity. I’ve written about precarious labor, classroom power dynamics, utopian writing, campus activism and university reforms in France. Along the way, I’ve gotten increasingly interested in race and gender issues, and I’m especially committed to teaching feminist theory and research. My work has a strongly reflexive angle — just who are we, the ostensibly critical thinkers? I’ve worked on a collective project to reflect on graduate student socialization in anthropology, and I keep a blog about academic culture.

This site got its name because I used to think a lot about decay and disorder in academic culture. The word decasia was coined by Bill Morrison, who used it for the name of his eerie movie made from decaying film footage. (But this site has nothing to do with Bill, the film Decasia, his website formerly at, the symphony by Michael Gordon, or anything else like that.)

When I think about websites, I like to think back to when the web was a fairly new medium. When people more often had websites that were zany and a little bit personal. Like in 1997.