Ohio State nav bar

Franco Barchiesi

Franco Barchiesi

Franco Barchiesi

Associate Professor


428 Hagerty Hall
1775 S. College Road
Columbus, OH 43210

Office Hours: Tuesdays 12:00pm-2pm, or by appointment

Google Map

Areas of Expertise

  • Antiblackness, Afro-pessimism, and Black critique of political ontology; critical theory; political theory; global and comparative labor studies; intellectual history; South African politics and history; colonialism and postcolonialism


  • BA, Politics (University of Bologna, Italy, 1992)
  • MA, BA/HONS, Sociology (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, 1997)
  • PH.D., Sociology (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, 2006)

My latest book is Precarious Liberation: Workers, the State, and Contested Social Citizenship in Postapartheid South Africa (State University of New York Press and University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2011). The book is the winner of the 2012 CLR James Award of the Working-Class Studies Association. I also edited (with Tom Bramble) the book, Rethinking the Labour Movement in the 'New South Africa' (London: Ashgate, 2003).

In 2014-15, I was an Andrews Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Harvard University. My awards include the 2010 Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentor Award at the Ohio State University and the 2008 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship (Article) Award from the American Sociological Association, Labor and Labor Movements Section.

Among my faculty appointments are lecturer (1996-2002) in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (South Africa), assistant professor (2002-2005) in the Department of Politics at the University of Bologna (Italy), and visiting assistant professor (2012-13) in the Department of Sociology at Brooklyn College (City University of New York). I am also a former senior editor for International Labor and Working Class History (Cambridge University Press).

I am currently working on two books. The first is a study of labor regimes and normative constructions of work in the Atlantic world between the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century, aimed at demonstrating the constitutive grounding in antiblack violence of modern liberalism as the dominant global configuration of political interlocutory life. The second is an investigation on the concept of precarity in critical theory and Black radical thought, with a focus on their disparate and ontologically antagonistic readings of questions of eventfulness and subjective capacity.

Sample Publications

“African Social Movements.” In The Routledge Handbook of Pan-Africanism, edited by Reiland Rabaka (London: Routledge, 2020): 355-372.


“Precarious and Informal Labour.” In General Labour History of Africa: Workers, Employers and

Governments, 20th-21st Centuries, edited by Stefano Bellucci and Andreas Eckert (Woodbridge, Suffolk:

James Currey; Geneva, Switzerland: International Labour Organisation, 2019): 45-76.


“Work in the Constitution of the Human: Twentieth-Century South African Entanglements of

Welfare, Blackness, and Political Economy,” South Atlantic Quarterly Vol. 115, No. 1 (2016): 149-74.


“Precarity as Capture: A Conceptual Deconstruction of the Worker-Slave Analogy.” In On

Marronage: Ethical Confrontations with Anti-Blackness: Africana Studies in the Twenty-First Century, edited by

Khalil Saucier and Tryon Woods (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press): 177-206.


Precarious Liberation: Workers, the State, and Contested Social Citizenship in Postapartheid South Africa

(Albany: State University of New York Press; Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press,


Please see the attached pdf Curriculum Vitae (CV) below.