Noah Tamarkin

By: Staff,  A&S Communications
August 20, 2020

Name and title:

Noah Tamarkin, Assistant Professor, Anthropology

Academic focus:

Social politics of genetics, race, citizenship and belonging, South Africa

Current research project:

My first book, “Genetic Afterlives: Black Jewish Indigeneity in South Africa” comes out in October from Duke University Press. The book ethnographically examines how Lemba South Africans have repositioned their liminal status in relation to Jewish diaspora, African indigeneity, and South African citizenship both before and after their participation in Jewish genetic ancestry studies. I am also working on an ethnographic project that examines the introduction of a national criminal DNA database in South Africa. This project considers the social, cultural, and political implications of genomics as it emerges as a global technology of policing and as a form of postcolonial development.

Previous positions:

  • Assistant Professor, Comparative Studies, The Ohio State University, 2014-2020
  • Visiting Researcher and Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2013-2014
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Penn Humanities Forum, University of Pennsylvania, 2012-2013
  • Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, Brandeis University, 2011-2012
  • Predoctoral Fellow, African and African Diaspora Studies, Boston College, 2010-2011

Academic background:

  • Ph.D., Cultural anthropology (with a notation in Feminist Studies), University of California Santa Cruz, 2011
  • M.A., Cultural anthropology, University of California Santa Cruz, 2004
  • B.A., Anthropology, Colorado College, 2000

Last book read:

“Adventure Capital: Migration and the Making of an African Hub in Paris” by Julie Kleinman

 In your own time/when not working:

Getting to know the two eight-year old dachshund brothers whom I just adopted

Courses you’re most looking forward to teaching:

Borders Belonging Technoscience and Race and Religion. I'm also really looking forward to a spring anthropology course that I am still developing, Carceral Worlds.

What most excites you about Cornell:

Meeting so many brilliant and generous colleagues and exploring hiking trails.


  Noah Tamarkin