Cultural anthropologist Noah Tamarkin was hired as an Assistant Professor for a joint position in the Department of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies. Tamarkin's research focuses on genetic evidence as a cultural, political, and legal phenomenon, especially as it intersects with race and citizenship in South Africa. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Studies at The Ohio State University. Noah will begin his new position at Cornell in July 2020.
Noah Tamarkin's forthcoming book, Genetic Afterlives: Black Jewish Indigeneity in South Africa, will be published by Duke University Press in Fall 2020. Focusing on the politics of race, religion, and recognition among Lemba people, black South Africans who were part of Jewish genetic ancestry studies in the 1980s and 1990s, this ethnography asks how the meaning, stakes, and politics of genetic data change if we approach them from the perspective of research subjects rather than genetics researchers. The book shows how genetic ancestry is a multivalent political object with the potential to not only reinforce exclusionary ideas about origins but also to disrupt them.
Tamarkin's current ethnographic research project examines the introduction and implementation of legislation to expand South Africa’s national criminal DNA database. This project asks how, in a context where science, race, and law have long been contested, DNA becomes legally meaningful and to what ends. Tamarkin's research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Ohio State University’s Criminal Justice Research Center.
Tamarkin is a graduate of the University of California Santa Cruz (PhD in Cultural Anthropology with a notation in Feminist Studies; and Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology) and Colorado College (Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology).
This fall, Professor Tamarkin will teach Race and Religion (ANTHR 3471/6471 and JWST 3471/6471) and Borders, Belonging, Technoscience (STS 6010/ANTHR 6100).
The Department of Anthropology is delighted to welcome Professor Tamarkin to Cornell.