Craig Willse

Craig Willse

Craig Willse

Associate Professor

biopolitics, neoliberalism, critical race and ethnic studies, urban studies, political sociology, queer and feminist theory.

Craig Willse’s work focuses on neoliberalism, urbanism, biopolitics, and racial formations. He is the author of The Value of Homelessness: Managing Surplus Life in the United States (University of Minnesota Press, 2015). Earlier work on the management of racialized housing insecurity and the homeless services industry has been published in Economy and Society and Surveillance and Society. He is co-editor, with Patricia Clough, of Beyond Biopolitics: Essays on the Governance of Life and Death (Duke University Press, 2011). Willse also works in queer/LGBT studies in an on-going collaboration with legal scholar Dean Spade. Their joint writing has appeared in QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, Widener Law Review, Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage (ed. Ryan Conrad, 2010) and Left Turn. Their multi-media project Free State Epitaph has been produced and screened in New York, Berkeley, Seattle, and Kansas City, MO.

Willse’s scholarship is informed by his community-based work outside the academy in movements for social, racial, and economic justice. 

Current Research

Willse's book, The Value of Homelessness: Managing Surplus Life in the United States (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), charts the organization of housing insecurity as an object of knowledge and intervention. The project is especially concerned with how racial subordination and poverty are made productive in the context of neoliberal service and knowledge industries, including social services and social sciences. He is working on two new projects: one on relationships of colonialism, militarism, and gentrification and a second on the spatial politics of HIV/AIDS.

Selected Publications

Craig Willse. 2015. The Value of Homelessness: Managing Surplus Life in the United States. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Patricia Ticineto Clough and Craig Willse. 2011. Beyond Biopolitics: Essays on the Governance of Life and Death. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Dean Spade and Craig Willse. 2014. "Sex, Gender, and War in an Age of Multicultural Imperialism." QED: A Journal of GLBTQ Worldmaking 1(1): 5-29. | download pdf

Craig Willse and Dean Spade. 2013. Born in Flames: Special Issue of Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, 23(1).

Craig Willse. 2010. "Neo-liberal Biopolitics and the Invention of Chronic Homelessness." Economy and Society 39(2): 155-184. | download pdf


Expanded Publication List

Craig Willse. 2012. "Magic Versus Neoliberalism: Riots Against Everywhere." WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly 40 (3&4): 317-25. | download pdf

Craig Willse. 2012. "Review of Homelessness, Housing, and Mental Illness, Russell K. Schutt with Stephen M. Goldfinger." Contemporary Sociology 41(2): 234-35. | download pdf

Patricia Ticineto Clough and Craig Willse. 2010. “Gendered Security/National Security: Political Branding and Population Racism.” Social Text 105 28(4): 45-63. | download pdf

Dean Spade and Craig Willse. 2009. “White Knight.” Review of Milk, directed by Gus Van Sant. Left Turn, April/May: 72-73. | download pdf

Craig Willse. 2009. “Living Better." Curatorial essay. Visual AIDS, Web Gallery.

Craig Willse. 2008. "'Universal Data Elements,' or the Biopolitical Life of Homeless Populations." Surveillance and Society 5(4): 227-251. | download pdf

Patricia T. Clough, Greg Goldberg, Rachel Schiff, Aaron Weeks and Craig Willse. 2007. "Notes Towards a Theory of Affect-Itself." Ephemera 7(2): 60-77. | download pdf

Greg Goldberg and Craig Willse. 2007. "Losses and Returns: The Soldier in Trauma." In Patricia T. Clough (ed.), The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social. Durham: Duke University Press, 265-286. | download pdf

Craig Willse and Dean Spade. 2005. "Freedom in a Regulatory State?: Lawrence, Marriage and Biopolitics." Widener Law Review 307: 309-329. | download pdf

Craig Willse. 2005. "Anti-War Politics After the Public Sphere." The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest 4: 175-186.

Craig Willse. 2005. Review of Smoke and Mirrors: The Politics and Culture of Air Pollution edited by E. Melanie Du Puis. Contemporary Sociology 34(4): 372.

Courses Taught

CULT 320 Globalization and Culture
CULT 390 Global Social Movements
CULT 814 Gender and Sexuality
CULT 860 Biopolitics and Race
CULT 860 Space, Place, and Power
CULT 860 Cultures of Activism


PhD, Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center
BA, Gender Studies/Social Sciences, New College of Florida