Scholars 2021-22


Daniel Agbiboa
Harvard University

Daniel Agbiboa's research focuses on the relationships between state and non-state actors, especially in the context of political violence and city life. While at IAS, he will research the #ENDSARS protests against police brutality in Nigeria.


Anthony Alessandrini
Kingsborough Community College, CUNY

Anthony Alessandrini’s project focuses on the Solidarity Academies (Dayanışma Akademileri), a loose network of public education projects established by scholars victimized by a state purge of academics in Turkey, as part of a book in progress on community education as political praxis.

alessandrini adjusted 2

Zahra Ali
Rutgers University-Newark


Zahra Ali’s current research “Up-rising / انتِ ـ فاضة: Iraq and the feminist and sociological imagination” asks the following question: What do uprisings tell us about the social world? How do these “social dramas” teach us to theorize and analyze the contemporary conjuncture? Uprisings, in their various and contradictory forms, reveal the deployment, structure and functioning of social, political, economic and epistemic violence(s). Placing Iraq and Iraqis at the center of knowledge production and theorization, Ali explores the various ways in which the Iraqi uprising and Iraqi activists enrich and challenge the sociological and feminist imagination on issues of justice, dignity, belonging and beyond.



Magali Bessone
Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne


Magali Bessone's research focuses on contemporary theories of justice (social/distributive, criminal, reparatory, transitional/transformative) in their relation with critical theories of race and racism. While at IAS, she will explore the moral economies of antiracism in France, with a focus on the affects, values and norms claimed or disrupted by the social agents participating today in the construction of the “public problem” of racism. By identifying the normative roots of what needs to be conceived of as “racial politics,” she is aiming at a better descriptive and evaluative understanding of so-called “moral” and “political” antiracist movements as expressing conflicting moral economies, fighting for the reconfiguration of justice and respect in contemporary France.


Debaditya Bhattacharya
Kazi Nazrul University


Debaditya Bhattacharya's current interests cohere around a “historical sociology” of higher education, with specific attention to Indian policy-contexts. His recent work, including his research at IAS, attempts a history of the difficult negotiations between the university and social movements.


Keisha Blain
University of Pittsburgh


Keisha N. Blain is a historian of the 20th century United States with broad interdisciplinary interests and specializations in African American History, the modern African Diaspora, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is now writing a book on Black women and the struggle for human rights from 1865 to the present.


William Callison
Lafayette College
Political Science


William Callison’s research connects the history of political and economic thought to contemporary social movements in Europe and the Americas. At the IAS, he is writing a book about the transformation of neoliberalism and its relation to far-right nationalism.


Marielle Debos
Université Paris Nanterre
Political Science


Marielle Debos explores biometric voting in Africa. She aims to contribute to our understanding of the circulation of a commodified and technologically-framed conception of politics, which, on the African continent as in other parts of the world, may have troubling implications for democracy.


Tanisha Ford
Graduate Center, CUNY


Tanisha Ford's book project, Our Secret Society: America’s Forgotten Black Philanthropists for Racial Justice, is a cultural-economic history of the Civil Rights movement that explores how black women racial justice philanthropists raised millions of dollars for movement organizations, hosting lavish galas, fashion shows, and card parties for an interracial audience.

ford adjusted 2

Jill Frank
Cornell University
Political Science

Jill Frank explores the capacity of ancient Greek texts to defamiliarize contemporary politics in radically democratic directions. At IAS, she is developing the ancient idea of geometric equality to challenge notions of equality as a kind of given sameness that have underwritten US jurisprudence since Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).


Asli Iğsiz
New York University


Aslı Iğsız is interested in political violence, eugenics, humanism, spatial segregation and forced migration, critical theory, and cultural policy. Her work addresses the implications of the past in the present. While at IAS, Iğsız will work on fascism and examine its reincarnations in the contemporary world context.


Biko Koenig
Franklin & Marshall College
Political Science


While at IAS, Koenig will work on an ethnographic book project that follows the 2020 Trump reelection campaign from his perspective as a volunteer. Thematically, the project examines the political discourse of modern populism among working class people in America’s Rust Belt.

koenig edited

Zachariah Mampilly
Baruch College, CUNY
Political Science


Zachariah Mampilly works on both violent and non-violent movements for political transformation with a focus on Africa and South Asia. His previous work has focused on governance by armed groups and the rise of popular protest movements in Africa and beyond.


Robyn Marasco
Hunter College, CUNY
Political Science


Robyn Marasco teaches the history of political thought and contemporary political theory.  Her research interests are in critical theory, feminism, and psychoanalysis.  Her work has focused on the place of the passions in political life. While at IAS, she will be working on a book about politics, critical theory, and the family.


Emily Merchant
University of California, Davis


Emily Merchant's current research focuses on the eugenic nexus between the social sciences, molecular genetics, and assisted reproductive technologies since the mid-twentieth century.


Cecilia Palmeiro
Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Cascos, Argentina


Poetics and Politics of the Tide. In the last five years, feminisms around the world have composed a collective political subject, the Global Feminist Tide. This movement is the object of Cecilia Palmeiro's research project, with special attention to the actions developed by the Ni Una Menos collective, from the perspective of its aesthetic and micropolitical revolution.


Kenneth M. Roberts
Cornell University
Political Science


Kenneth M. Roberts studies comparative and Latin American politics, with a focus on popular movements and crises of democratic representation.  His current research lies at the intersection of populism, social movements, and political parties, analyzing movements that try to restrict or expand democratic rights in Latin America, Europe, and the United States.


Elizabeth Saleh
American University of Beirut


Elizabeth Saleh works in the fields of political and economic anthropology with a special focus on waste, agriculture, labor and gender. Her current ethnographic study is about the lives of Syrian underage waste pickers growing up at a Beirut scrapyard. During her time at the IAS, she intends to finalize her manuscript which tells the story of the labor and caring practices of this scrapyard community.


Judith Scheele


Judith Scheele's primary interest is within the Sahara and neighboring areas. She has carried out long-term fieldwork in Algeria, Mali and Chad. At IAS, she is hoping to complete a book on the region, and on the ways in which current upheavals there might help us rethink political anthropology.


Matthew Shafer
University of Pennsylvania
Political Science


Matt Shafer's research examines the politics of language and the language of politics in contemporary technological capitalism. At IAS, he will complete a critical history of contemporary debates about how the term "violence" should be defined in political theory and deployed in political rhetoric.


Harel Shapira
The University of Texas at Austin


Harel Shapira is an ethnographer whose research focuses on gun culture, militias, and right-wing politics.


Maka Suarez
University of Cuenca, Ecuador


Maka Suarez works in the fields of economic, political and medical anthropology. She will be working on her book manuscript, Against the Odds: Activism, Debt, and Labor in Times of Crisis, an ethnographic account of predatory financial inclusion of Ecuadorian migrants in Spain and their political engagement to face over-indebtedness.

suarez edited

Sonja van Wichelen
Term 1

University of Sydney

Sonja van Wichelen’s research takes place on the cross-disciplinary node of law, life, and science in a globalizing world. Previous projects focused on cross-border reproductive technologies, global migration, and religion. Van Wichelen’s current focus is on “biolegality” and examines the constitutive relation between biology and law in the formation of knowledge and sociality.

van wichelen edited

Deborah R. Vargas
Rutgers University-New Brunswick


Deborah R. Vargas’s research draws from queer of color critique, critical race feminism, Chicana/Latina studies, oral histories, borderlands theory, and queer ethnography to pose questions related to queer sexuality, racialized gender, cultural productions, and working/underclass aesthetics.

vargas edited

Yves Winter
McGill University
Political Science


Yves Winter teaches history of political ideas and social/political theory. His research interests include Machiavelli and critical theory. Thematically, his work focuses on violence, political order, and the collective imagination. While at IAS, he will work on a book project on social and political imaginaries.

winter edited


Minou Arjomand
The University of Texas at Austin


Minou Arjomand's research focuses on the relationship between aesthetic experience and political action. In her current project, she turns to radio in order to understand how people share stories in times of social upheaval, mass migration, and rapid technological change.



Julien Brachet
Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
International Development


Julien Brachet is interested in the practices and politics of mobilities between sub-Saharan and northern Africa. While at IAS, he will research how international humanitarian and security interventions carried out in the Sahara challenge local state sovereignty and democratic control.

brachet edited

Angela B. Cornell
Cornell Law School


The primary focus of Angela Cornell’s research and teaching has been labor law, including international and comparative labor law. Much of her work at Cornell Law School is centered on workers’ collective rights both domestically and internationally, in particular on freedom of association.

cornell edited

Marc de Leeuw
Term 1

University of New South Wales
Philosophy and Law

Marc de Leeuw’s research concerns the edges of law on domains that, due to radical technological change or ruptures in our ethical imagination, require legal consideration in a philosophical register: the legal standing of collective ecological entities, the fashioning, use, and ownership of human body parts, and the legal status of nonhuman minds.

de leeuw edited

Anne-Claire Defossez
Institute for Advanced Study

Anne-Claire Defossez will devote part of this year at the Institute to writing the first chapters of a book on women and politics in France. Defossez will also continue working on field data collected on the French-Italian border regarding migrations from African and Middle Eastern countries, in order to analyze their legal, social, and economic features and the tensions between states’ repression and local solidarities.

Lawrence B. Glickman
Term 1

Cornell University


Lawrence B. Glickman is interested in cultural, intellectual, and political history.  He has written three books, including, most recently, Free Enterprise: An American History (2019).  While at IAS he will be researching a book on how "backlashes" have shaped American politics since the Civil War.

glickman edited

Katherine Lemons
McGill University


Katherine Lemons' research interests are in the anthropology of Islam, law and kinship in India and Canada. She teaches social theory and the anthropology of religion, law and politics. At IAS, she will work on her current book project, an institutional ethnography of one of India's foremost Islamic legal and political institutions.


Jorge Núñez
Kaleidos - Center for Interdisciplinary Ethnography

Jorge Núñez is interested in financial speculation carried out by everyday people, and how citizens develop playful engagements with debt and financialization in Southern Europe and Latin America. While at IAS, Núñez will finish his book manuscript, Markets of Excitement: Playing with debt in times of Austerity in Catalonia.

nunez edited

Andrea Sempértegui
Lafayette College
Sociology and Anthropology



Andrea Sempértegui's research interests include feminist and environmental movements, Indigenous politics, conflicts over natural resource extraction, and decolonial and ethnographic methodologies. While at IAS, she will be working on a book about the territorial struggle of the Amazonian Women (Mujeres Amazónicas), a group of Indigenous women leaders from the Ecuadorian Amazon who have organized against the expansion of oil and mega-mining projects in their communities.


Alicia Steinmetz
Stanford University
Political Science


Alicia Steinmetz’s research focuses on ancient and early modern political thought and its significance for the dilemmas of democratic politics today. At IAS she is completing a book about the parasitism of reason on imagination from Montaigne to Kant.

steinmetz edited