“Gloriously idiosyncratic and erudite … Raffles’s works are elegant, unpredictable, and engrossing.” American Academy of Arts and Letters, Literature Award citation

The author of three prize-winning books and many essays, and a recipient of the Whiting Writers’ Award for non-fiction and a 2023 Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Hugh Raffles has published in both popular and academic venues, including Granta, Cabinet, Natural History, The Best American Essays, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, Orion, Public Culture, Cultural Anthropology, and American Ethnologist, and alongside the work of artists such as Tomás Saraceno, Gonzalo Fonseca, Deborah Stratman, Lubna Chowdhary, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, and the photographer Tim Edgar.

He has worked many jobs—in hospitals, nightclubs, theaters, restaurants, retail stores, and a scrap metal yard—and now teaches anthropology at The New School in New York City where he is director of GIDEST (the Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought).


Agpalilik meteorite courtesy of Origins DK-Own Work, CC BY-SA 3.0; Butterfly and beetle image courtesy of George O. Krizek; Amazon aerial view © Layne Kennedy/Corbis; Insect Theatre images courtesy of Tim Edgar; New York map courtesy of Cartography Associates, Creative Commons, image cropped; Heimaey eruption 1973 photo: Sigurgeir Jonasson; Flying kabutomushi image courtesy of Sega Corporation. © SEGA. All rights reserved; Image from Senchufu by Tanshu Kurimoto (1811) courtesy of the National Diet Library, Japan; UV Rudbeckia hirta courtesy of Thomas Eisner, Cornell University; LandSat TM image courtesy of Daniel Zarin; Reykjavík image courtesy of Sharon Simpson; Smiling airplane: The Sugarcubes, “Planet,” dir. Óskar Jónasson; Masked couple: Joan Jonas, “Helen in Egypt”; Tōhoku crows: Chim-Pom, “Black of Death.”

All videos by Orfeas Skutelis
Pendulum: Odani Motohiko, A Dead Man Sleeping”