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Kabir Tambar

kabir tambar

Kabir Tambar

Ph.D. University of Chicago, 2009
Research Interests: 
Religion and secularism, pluralism and nationalism, the politics of affect, Islam, Middle East, Turkey


Kabir Tambar is a sociocultural anthropologist, working at the intersections of political anthropology and the anthropology of religion. He is broadly interested in the politics of history, performances of public criticism, and varieties of Islamic practice in Turkey.

Tambar’s first book is a study of the politics of pluralism in contemporary Turkey, focusing on the ways that Alevi religious history is staged for public display. More generally, the book investigates how secular states govern religious differences through practices of cultural and aesthetic regulation. Tambar is currently working on a new project that examines the politics and ethics of nonviolence in Turkey.


Selected Articles

2019 Professions of Friendship: Revisiting the Concept of the Political in the Middle East. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 39 (2): 249-263. Read pdf

2017 The Uncanny Medium: Semiotic Opacity in the Wake of Genocide. Current Anthropology 58 (6): 762–784. Read pdf

2016 Theologies of the West: A Commentary on Saba Mahmood's Religious Difference in a Secular Age. Politics, Religion & Ideology 17 (1): 72-74. Read pdf.

2016 Brotherhood in Dispossession: State Violence and the Ethics of Expectation in Turkey. Cultural Anthropology 31 (1): 30-55. Read pdf.

2013 Historical Critique and Political Voice after the Ottoman Empire. History of the Present: A Journal of Critical History 3 (2): 119-139. Read PDF.

2012 Islamic Reflexivity and the Uncritical Subject. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18 (3): 652-672. Read PDF.

2011 Iterations of Lament: Anachronism and Affect in a Shi‘i Islamic Revival in Turkey. American Ethnologist 38 (3): 484-500. Read PDF.

2010 The Aesthetics of Public Visibility: Alevi Semah and the Paradoxes of Pluralism in Turkey. Comparative Studies in Society and History 52 (3): 652-679. Read PDF.

2009 Secular Populism and the Semiotics of the Crowd in Turkey. Public Culture 21 (3): 517-537. Read PDF.