Author Biographies

Volume 60, #1 // January 2018


Kristen Alff is a doctoral student in the field of Modern Middle East History at Stanford University. She holds a BA and a BS in British and American literature and Secondary English Education from Boston University. After teaching at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, she moved to Cairo to study Arabic and earned an MA in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo. She is presently interested in the history of capitalism, law, property rights, minorities, and imperialism. Kristen’s forthcoming dissertation, “The Business of Property: Levantine Joint-Stock Companies, Land, Law, and Capitalist Development Around the Mediterranean, 1850–1925,” draws upon the Sursuq family archive to examine the birth of Levantine joint-stock companies and the evolution of landed property ownership in the Levant as part of a broader history of global capitalist development.

Pamela Ballinger is the Fred Cuny Professor of the History of Human Rights in the Department of History at the University of Michigan. She is the author of History in Exile: Memory and Identity at the Borders of the Balkans (Princeton University Press, 2003) [] and has published in a wide range of journals, including Austrian History Yearbook, Contemporary European History, Current Anthropology, Journal of Contemporary History, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, Journal of Refugee Studies, and Journal of Tourism History. Her areas of expertise include borderlands, human rights, forced migration, refugees, seascapes and seaspace, and modern Mediterranean and Balkan history.

Elise K. Burton earned her Ph.D. in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University in May 2017. Her dissertation, “Genetic Nationalism: Scientific Communities and Ethnic Mythmaking in the Middle East,” analyzes the history of human genetics in Iran, Turkey, and Israel from the First World War to the present. Her research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the Council on Library and Information Resources, the American Institute of Iranian Studies, and the Institute of Turkish Studies. In October 2017, she took up a Junior Research Fellowship with Newnham College at the University of Cambridge.

Freddy Foks is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Cambridge. His thesis is a study of the cultural and intellectual history of British social anthropology in the twentieth century.

Patricia Jeffery is Emerita Professor of Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. Since 1970, she has conducted fieldwork in various parts of South Asia, mainly in rural areas, focusing on topics such as gender politics, childbearing, social demography, and education. Her main publications include Migrants and Refugees: Muslim and Christian Pakistani Families in Bristol (Cambridge University Press, 2010 [1976]); Frogs in a Well: Indian Women in Purdah (Manohar, 2000 [1979]); Labour Pains and Labour Power: Women and Childbearing in India (with Roger Jeffery and Andrew Lyon; Zed Books, 1989); Confronting Saffron Demography: Religion, Fertility and Women’s Status in India (with Roger Jeffery; Three Essays Collective, 2006); and the co-edited volumes Educational Regimes in Contemporary India (with Radhika Chopra; Sage 2005); and Appropriating Gender: Women’s Activism, Politicized Religion and the State in South Asia (with Amrita Basu; Routledge, 1998). In 2009–2010 she held a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship and Leverhulme Research Fellowship. She is currently Chair of the British Association for South Asian Studies.

Chris Moffat is Lecturer in South Asian History at Queen Mary University of London.

Tina Otten teaches at the Institute of Ethnology of Westphalia-Wilhelms-University of Muenster, Germany. She previously held appointments at Free University of Berlin and Ruhr-University Bochum. Her research focuses on ways in which people conceptualize social identity and experience change, and how new ideas are absorbed, particularly in relation to ritual, politics, medicine, gender, and kinship. Her Ph.D. was earned at the Free University of Berlin, and dealt with concepts of illness, centering on healing rituals and social change among Rona people of Odisha. Her recent post-doctoral research, funded by ESRC and based at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, investigated social and political relations in Phulbani. Earlier research, supported by grants from the German Research Foundation, focused on new emerging rituals and oral epics, and their relation to historical royal and recent political structure in southern Odisha, India.

Tobias Rupprecht is a lecturer in Latin American and Caribbean History at the University of Exeter. His research revolves around contacts between the Second and Third Worlds during the Cold War and its aftermath, and the role of culture and religion in international relations. His recent publications include Soviet Internationalism after Stalin: Interaction and Exchange between the USSR and Latin America during the Cold War (Cambridge, 2015)[], which explores Soviet encounters with Latin America and the ways in which arts and culture shaped how people outside the West made sense of the global Cold War. In a follow-up project, he is currently examining the impact of Chilean economic reforms under the military dictatorship on the transformation of Eastern European states after 1989.

Tommaso Sbriccoli is a social and political anthropologist based at the University of Siena. Drawing on research conducted in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Italy, he has written on kinship, pastoralism, law, migration, asylum, and communal violence. His work focuses on issues of power and marginality as they are discursively produced and empirically manifested. He is co-editor, with Stefano Jacoviello, of Shifting Borders: European Perspectives on Creolization (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012).[]

Edward Simpson is Professor of Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He has had active field-research interests in western India for twenty years. He is author of Muslim Society and the Western Indian Ocean: The Seafarers of Kachchh (Taylor and Francis, 2006)[]; and The Political Biography of an Earthquake: Aftermath and Amnesia in Gujarat, India (Hurst, 2014).[] He is currently Principal Investigator on a project funded by the European Research Council looking at roads and the politics of developmental thought in South Asia. He is Chair of the Centre for Ethnographic Theory and, since September 2017, Director of the SOAS South Asia Institute.

Alice Tilche is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Alice has held a Wenner-Gren Foundation grant and published in several journals including Contributions to Indian Sociology, Visual Anthropology, and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Her current project on art, religion, and inequality examines the cultural politics of indigeneity in contemporary India and will result in the publication of her first monograph, “The Art of Identity.” Alice is also a documentary filmmaker with an interest in migration, mobility, and agrarian change. She is presently completing her second documentary film in collaboration with Indian and adivasi filmmaker Dakxin Bajranje on the politics and aesthetics of religious nationalism among adivasi communities of western India.

Harald Wydra is a Fellow of St Catharine’s College at the University of Cambridge, where he has taught politics since 2003. He held visiting fellowships at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and the Australian National University in Canberra. He was Visiting Professor at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense and at the University of Wrocław. He is a founding editor of International Political Anthropology ( His books include Continuities in Poland’s Permanent Transition (Palgrave, 2001), Communism and the Emergence of Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2007), Democracy and Myth in Russia and Eastern Europe (co-editor with Alexander Wöll; Routledge, 2008), Breaking Boundaries: Varieties of Liminality (co-editor with Agnes Horvath and Bjørn Thomassen; Berghahn, 2015) Politics and the Sacred (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and the Handbook of Political Anthropology (co-editor with Bjørn Thomasse and Edward Elgar; forthcoming 2018).