Professor Yael Navaro


Fellow (A), College Lecturer, Director of Studies

College Roles

  • Fellow (A)
  • College Lecturer in Social Anthropology
  • Director of Studies in Human, Social and Political Sciences (Part I)
  • Director of Studies in Human, Social and Political Sciences (Parts IIA & IIB, Social Anthropology)
  • Postgraduate Mentor

University Roles

  • Professor of Social Anthropology, Department of Social Anthropology




Professor Yael Navaro is a social anthropologist working in the area of politics, the state, and violence and its aftermath.

Born in Istanbul, Yael Navaro completed her undergraduate education at Brandeis University (Sociology 1991) and her masters and PhD at Princeton University (Anthropology 1998). She was Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh (1997-1999) and has been teaching at the University of Cambridge since 1999.

She is presently Professor in Social Anthropology in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow, College Lecturer, and Director of Studies in Social Anthropology at Newnham.

Professor Navaro’s two key publications are Faces of the State: Secularism and Public Life in Turkey (Princeton University Press 2002) and The Make-Believe Space: Affective Geography in a Postwar Polity (Duke University Press 2012).

Research Interests

Professor Navaro recently completed a 5-year European Research Council (ERC) funded project entitled “Living with Remnants: Politics, Materiality and Subjectivity in the Aftermath of Past Atrocities in Turkey” (2012-2016). The project addressed the aftermath of mass violence in the contemporary everyday of Turkey through the core concept of ‘remnants’ which we explored as material, spatial, subjective, spiritual, and/or political leftovers from past atrocities. Publications based on this 5-year project that involved field and archival work in four locations in south and south Eastern Turkey are in press and/or forthcoming.

Research interests include:

Anthropology of politics; ethnography of the state; borders, border practices, and partition regimes; environments of war, violence and their aftermath; ruination; minorities and minoritization practices; communalism and inter-communal relations; spirituality, religious practices, spiritual entities; history and memory; affect, subjectivity and the anthropology of the emotions; materiality and space; urban social forms; political geography; governance and sovereignty; social and political movements and the public sphere; law and legal anthropology; bureaucracy and administration; documentary practices and technologies; knowledge practices; anthropological and social/political theory; secularism and Islamism; the anthropology of the Middle East; the anthropology of Europe; Turkey, Cyprus, post-Ottoman societies.