Jean Muteba Rahier was born in the Belgian Congo (about a year before independence) off of a Congolese mother and a Belgian father. He grew up in Belgium.
Jean Muteba Rahier is Professor of Anthropology and African & African Diaspora Studies at FIU, where he also serves as director of the African & African Diaspora Studies Program. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the Université de Paris X, at Nanterre, France. He is the author of La Décima: Poesía Oral Negra del Ecuador (Quito, Ecuador: Abya-Yala, 1987); Kings for Three Days: The Play of Race and Gender in an Afro-Ecuadorian Festival (The University of Illinois Press, 2013); and Blackness in the Andes: Ethnographic Vignettes of Cultural Politics in the Time of Multiculturalism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2014); and the editor or co-editor of four books: Representations of Blackness and the Performance of Identities (Westport: Bergin & Garvey, 1999); Problematizing Blackness: Self-Ethnographies by Black Immigrants to the United States (Routledge, 2003); Global Circuits of Blackness: Interrogating the African Diaspora (The University of Illinois Press, 2010); and Black Social Movements in Latin America: From Monocultural Mestizaje to Multiculturalism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2012). He has authored more than 70 articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries and was, from January 2002 until the summer 2007, the Editor of the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology: the peer-reviewed journal of the Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology (within the American Anthropological Association or AAA). Along the years, in addition to his Afro Latin American research focus, he has been conducting intensive research in the Belgian colonial archives for a project on the intersections of race, power, and sexuality in the context of Belgian colonization of the Congo. He has also engaged in research on roots/heritage tourism in West Africa, and particularly in The Gambia.
Jean Muteba Rahier was the coordinator/writer of the Title VI-UISFL grant AADS has just received to expand and develop African studies at FIU.
On October 2, 2014, he was awarded—during FIU’s 2014 Faculty Convocation—an Award for Excellence in Research & Creative Activities. This was probably due to the fact that he has published or edited four books in the period going from 2010 to 2014.