Ilana Gershon has a wide-ranging set of interests, from Samoan migrants in New Zealand and the United States (No Family is an Island, Cornell UP) to how mathematicians co-author. She has published The Breakup 2.0 (Cornell UP), a book on how Americans use new media to break up with each other. Most recently, she has written Down and Out in the New Economy (The University of Chicago Press), about how neoliberalism has transformed the hiring ritual in corporate America. She is currently involved in a project tentatively titled The Pandemic Life of Employment Contracts, in which she explores what the pandemic reveals about how US workplaces function as incubators for both democratic and autocratic citizens.. Her research has been supported by the Wenner-Gren, SSRC, NSF, and, most recently, fellowships at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and Notre Dame’s Institute of Advanced Study.
She has two major theoretical projects at the moment. First, she wants to generate a historically specific and rigorous definition of neoliberalism as a distinct moment of capitalism through various axes of comparison. Second, she wants to make known an emerging theoretical movement in anthropology that assumes everyone lives among multiple social orders, and endeavor to form boundaries between these social orders that are stable and yet porous enough to allow people, objects, forms, and ideas to circulate in appropriate ways. With this as a starting point, ethnographers are analyzing a new circulation, power, ritual, and scale, among other traditional anthropological foci.