Professor Yael Navaro

BA (Brandeis), MA (Princeton), PhD (Princeton)

Fellow (C), College Lecturer, Director of Studies, Postgraduate Mentor

College Roles

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

University Roles

  • Professor of Social, Political & Psychological 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 Professor (at Grade 12) in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow, College Lecturer, and Director of Studies in Social Anthropology at Newnham College.

Professor Navaro’s publications include her books 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), and the co-edited volume Reverberations: Violence Across Time and Space (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021).

Research Interests

Professor Navaro was the Principal Investigator of 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). This project addressed the aftermath of mass violence in the contemporary everyday of Turkey through the core concept of ‘remnants’ which was explored through the material, spatial, subjective, spiritual, and political leftovers from past atrocities.

Research interests include:

Anthropology of politics; ethnography of the state; political violence; political geography; borders and border practices; legal and documentary practices; bureaucracy and administration; postwar environments and ruination; affect, subjectivity, and the emotions; space and materiality; history and memory; minorities and minoritization practices; inter-communal relations; spiritual practices and relations with spiritual entities; secularism and Islamism; anthropological and social/political theory; the anthropology of the Middle East; the anthropology of Europe; Turkey, Cyprus, post-Ottoman societies.