Noah Tamarkin

Assistant Professor


Noah Tamarkin is a cultural anthropologist of race, citizenship, and genomics with interdisciplinary commitments to Science and Technology Studies, African Studies, and Jewish Studies. His research projects examine how DNA transforms power and politics as it becomes unevenly part of everyday life through technologies like ancestry testing and criminal forensics. He has conducted ethnographic field research in South Africa since 2004. His book Genetic Afterlives: Black Jewish Indigeneity in South Africa was published by Duke University Press in 2020. His current ethnographic research 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. He teaches courses in Anthropology, Science & Technology Studies, and Jewish Studies on race; religion; borders and belonging; policing and carcerality; and biology and society. He is also  a research associate at University of Witwatersrand’s Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) in Johannesburg, South Africa and a member of the editorial collective of Somatosphere: Science, Medicine, and Anthropology.

Research Focus

  • Genetic ancestry in relation to race, citizenship, diaspora, and indigeneity in South Africa
  • Forensic science in relation to postcolonial national DNA databases
  • Emerging worlds of carcerality, policing and securitization



Articles and Book Chapters:

Public Scholarship:

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