Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Social Sciences in the College; Lecturer in Law
PhD, Harvard University, 2012; JD, Yale Law School, 2009
Darryl Li is an anthropologist and attorney working at the intersection of war, law, migration, empire, and race with a focus on transregional linkages between the Middle East, South Asia, and the Balkans.
Li's forthcoming book from Stanford University Press develops an ethnographic approach to the comparative study of universalism using the example of transnational "jihadists" -- specifically, Arabs and other foreigners who fought in the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia Herzegovina. Drawing on ethnographic and archival research conducted in Bosnia and a half-dozen other countries, the monograph situates transnational jihads in relation to more powerful universalisms, including socialist Non-Alignment, United Nations peacekeeping, and the U.S.-led "Global War on Terror." He is at work on a second project on migrant military labor (frequently called "mercenaries" or "military contractors") across the Indian Ocean.
Li has participated in litigation arising from the "War on Terror" as party counsel, amicus, or expert witness, including in Guantánamo habeas, Alien Tort, material support, denaturalization, immigration detention, and asylum proceedings. He is a member of the New York and Illinois bars.
We, Mercenaries: Migrants and Militaries across the Indian Ocean
The oil-rich countries states that are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council - have long relied on migrant workers from the east and south to work as construction laborers, domestic caretakers, service workers, and all other manner of professionals. Darryl Li is exploring the importance of the less well-known trans-regional migrants who comprise much of the security architecture of the region, as well as the economic, political, and moral questions that arise when foreign military workers may rival that of resident citizen-soldiers.