• Faculty

  • Miriam Ticktin

    Associate Professor of Anthropology


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    D - Albert & Vera List Academic Center - 6 East 16th Street

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    Miriam Ticktin


    Miriam Ticktin is Associate Professor of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research. She was Chair of Anthropology from 2016-2018, Co-Director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility between 2013-2016 and Director of Gender Studies from 2012-2013. She received her PhD in Anthropology at Stanford University and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, France, and an MA in English Literature from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Before coming to the New School, Miriam was an Assistant Professor in Women’s Studies and Anthropology at the University of Michigan, and also held a postdoctoral position in the Society of Fellows at Columbia University. 

    Miriam works at the intersections of the anthropology of medicine and science, law, and transnational and postcolonial feminist theory. Her research has focused in the broadest sense on what it means to make political claims in the name of a universal humanity: she has been interested in what these claims tell us about universalisms and difference, about who can be a political subject, on what basis people are included and excluded from communities, and how inequalities get instituted or perpetuated in this process. She is the author of Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France (UC Press, 2011), co-editor of In the Name of Humanity: the Government of Threat and Care (with Ilana Feldman, Duke UP 2010), and a founding co-editor of the journal Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development.   

    Her newest work looks at emerging political and scientific technologies mobilized in the name of suffering -- expanding humanitarianism to ecological and planetary levels -- and how these help to redraw the boundaries between humans and non-humans, and new forms of political inclusion and exclusion. She is currently at work on two related book projects: 1) a short book on innocence as a political concept, and how it produces an unending search for purity; 2) a book on practices of containment at the border, from border walls to spaces of quarantine, and how these are shaped by encounters between humans and non-humans, from wildlife to viruses. The premise of the book is that we cannot understand the politics of border walls without also taking into account how they intersect with and are shaped by the politics of health, environment and conservation.

    Degrees Held

    PhD 2002, Stanford University and École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS)

    Recent Publications


    2011   Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011(co-winner of the 2012 William A. Douglass Prize in Europeanist Anthropology, Society for the Anthropology of Europe)

    2010   In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care, Co-Edited with Ilana Feldman, Durham: Duke University Press, 2010

    Special Issues of Journals: 

    2017 Guest editor of Social Research: An International Quarterly, "The Invasive Other."  84 (1): Spring 2017.

    2012  Co-editor (with Nehal Bhuta and Sakiko Fukuda Parr) of special issue of Social Research: An International Quarterly on “Human Rights and the Global Economy.” 79 (4): Winter 2012

    Articles and Chapters:

    2017Images Unwalled: The Innocent Bystander” (PDF) with the Multiple Mobilities Research Cluster (Miriam Ticktin, Radhika Subramaniam, Victoria Hattam, Laura Y. Liu & Rafi Youatt), Anthropology Now, 9:3, 24-37

    2017 "A World Without Innocence" (PDF) American Ethnologist, 44 (4) Nov 2017: 577-590

    2017  "Invasive Others: Toward a Contaminated World" (PDF) Social Research: An International Quarterly, special issue on “The Invasive Other” guest ed. Miriam Ticktin, 84 (1), spring 2017: xxi-xxxiv.

    2017  "Introduction: Invasive Pathogens? Rethinking Notions of Otherness" (PDF) Social Research: An International Quarterly, special issue on “The Invasive Other” guest ed. Miriam Ticktin, 84 (1), spring 2017: 55-58.

    2016   “Thinking Beyond Humanitarian Borders” (pdf)
    Social Research: An International Quarterly, special issue on “Borders and The Politics of Mourning,” eds Alexandra Delano and Benjamin Nienass, 83 (2), summer 2016: 255-271.

    2016   “Calais: Containment Politics in the ‘Jungle’”  (pdf) The Funambulist: Politics of Space and Bodies. 05 (May-June): 28-33.

    2015   “Los problemas de las fronteras humanitarias” (pdf) (The Problem with Humanitarian Borders), Revista de Delalectología y Tradiciones Populares  LXX (2): 291-97(special issue: “Migration and Refuge in the Mediterranean, Beyond Borders” ed. Liliana Suarez Navaz), Julio-diciembre 2015

    2015   Humanitarianism’s History of the Singular” (pdf)
    Grey Room, 61, Fall, pp.81-86.

    2015   “La souffrance animale à distance. Des vétérinaires dans l’action humanitaire", (pdf) with Frédéric Keck, Anthropologie et Sociétés 39 (1-2): 145-163.

    2015   “Non-Human Suffering: A Humanitarian Project” (pdf)
    The Clinic and The Courtroom, eds. Tobias Kelly, Ian Harper and Ashkay Khanna. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 49-71

    2014   “Transnational Humanitarianism” (pdf) Annual Review of Anthropology, 43: 273-289.

    2014   “Humanitarianism as Planetary Politics” (pdf)
    In At the Limits of Justice: Women of Colour on Terror, eds. Suvendrini Perera and Sherene Razack. University of Toronto Press. Pp. 406-420.

    2012   “Introduction: Human Rights and Global Corporations” (pdf) In Social Research: An International Quarterly, 79 (4): 1017-1021, Winter 2012

    2011   The Gendered Human of Humanitarianism: Medicalizing and Politicizing Sexual Violence” (pdf) Gender and History 23 (2), August: 250-265

    2011   “How Biology Travels: A Humanitarian Trip.” (pdf) Body and Society 17 (2&3): 139-158

    2011   “From Redundancy to Recognition: Transnational Humanitarianism and the Production of Non-Moderns” (pdf) In Forces of Compassion: Humanitarianism between Ethics and Politics, Eds. Erica Bornstein and Peter Redfield, Santa Fe: SAR Press, pp. 175-19

    2010   “Government and Humanity”  (pdf) With Ilana Feldman, in In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care, Eds. Feldman and Ticktin. Durham: Duke University Press, pp. 1-26

    2008   “Sexual Violence as the Language of Border Control: Where French Feminist and Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Meet”  (pdf) Signs: Journal of Women and Culture in Society 33 (4) Summer: 863-889.

    2008   “A Transnational Conversation on French Colonialism, Immigration, Violence and Sovereignty” With Paola Bacchetta and Ruth Marshall, in the Special Issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online, “Borders on Belonging: Gender and Immigration,” Ed. Neferti Tadiar, 6 (3), Summer 2008.

    2006   “Where Ethics and Politics Meet: The Violence of Humanitarianism in France” (pdf)
    American Ethnologist, 33 (1) Feb: 33-49

    2006   “Medical Humanitarianism in and beyond France: Breaking Down or Patrolling Borders?” (pdf) In Medicine at the Border: The History, Culture and Politics of Global Health Ed. Alison Bashford, Palgrave, pp.116-135

    2005    “Policing and Humanitarianism in France: Immigration and the Turn to Law as State of Exception” (pdf) Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 7 (3):347-368

    2005   “Culture or Inequality in Sex Selective Abortion? A Reply to Sawitri Saharso” (pdf) Ethnicities Jun; 5:266-271

    1999   “Selling Suffering in the Courtroom and Marketplace: An Analysis of The Autobiography of Kiranjit Ahluwalia”  (pdf) The Political and Legal Anthropology Review vol. 22, May:24-41.

    Essays and Commentaries:

    2019 "Armed Love: Feminist Anthropological Perspectives on the Politics of Care." (PDF) 
    Miriam Ticktin, Interview with Sabine Hess, in Beate Binder, Christine Bischoff, Cordula Endter, Sabine Kienitz, Sven Bergmnan (Hg): Care: Praktiken und Politiken der Fursorge Ethnographische und geschlechtertheoretische Perspectiven. Budrich Verlag, 2018

    2018  "The Gold Standard: Sex and Suffering in Humanitarian Campaigns." (PDF) Essay accompanying Hayv Kahraman's exhibit, "Silence is Gold" at SUSANNE VIELMETTER LOS ANGELES PROJECTS gallery, September 8-October 27, 2018.

    2017  “Humanity as Concept and Method: Reconciling Critical Scholarship and Empathetic Methods” (PDF) Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East; Kitabkhana. 37(3): 608-613, December 2017

    2017 Review of "Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds" (with Katinska Wijsman), Hypatia Reviews Online, Fall 2017.

    2017  "The Sanctuary Movement and Women's Rights: Sister Struggles" in Truthout, April 29, 2017

    2017   "As'lem: An Ethical Diagnosis of the Contemporary" (PDF) (response to Fassin, Wilhelm-Solomon and Segatti's "Asylum as a Form of Life") Current Anthropology, 58 (2): 182-183.

    2016   “What's Wrong with Innocence”  Hot Spots, Cultural Anthropology website, June 2016

    2015   “The Problem with Humanitarian BordersPublic Seminar, Sept 18, 2015

    2015   “The Temporality of Disaster,” Books Forum on Fatal Isolation: The Devastating Paris Heat Wave of 2003 (University of Chicago, 2015), Somatosphere: Science, Medicine, Anthropology, Sept 2015.

    2014   “Cross-species craziness: Animals, Anthropomorphism and Mental Illness” (pdf) Books Forum, Biosocieties, 9 (4): 482-484

    2014   “From Antipolitics to post-Neoliberalism: a conversation with James Ferguson,” with Nils Gilman (Humanity Editorial Collective), Humanity: an International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development, 5 (2).

    2013   “The Waiting Room” in Commonplaces: Itemizing the Technological Present (series curated by Tomas Matza and Harris Solomon) Somatosphere: Science, Medicine, Anthropology.

    2012   “Two Types of Sexual Violence? Y a-t-il deux types de violences sexuelles?” In “Les Mots Sont Importants”:, December 3rd, 2012

    Performances and Appearances


    "Black Vests' Migrant Movement Demands End To Deportations in France," interview on NPR/WBEZ, "Worldview" with Jerome McDonnell

    Anthropology and Humanitarianism” (with Adia Benton and Miriam Ticktin), Episode 11, Anthropological Airwaves podcast. January 2019

    AE interviews Miriam Ticktin: Innocence, Ethnography and Politics Beyond the Human, December 22, 2017

    GIDEST interview (video) with Miriam Ticktin on the politics of innocence, November 11, 2016

    Feminism post-Beyonce” (video) Imara Jones interviews Miriam Ticktin on Caffeine TV, Oct 19, 2014

    Humane Violence: A Critique of Innocence
    Archipelago: the podcast platform of the Funambulist. Conversation between Léopold Lambert and Miriam Ticktin. August 2014 

    Research Interests

    anthropology of the human, humanitarianism, post-human; migration, mobility, borders and walls; sexual violence/gender based violence; anthropology of science, medicine, ethics, and transnational feminist theory; France/Europe/North Africa


    Awards And Honors

    2019-2020 Russell Sage Visiting Scholar

    Mellon Sawyer Seminar Grant for "Imaginative Mobilities" (co-PI, with Victoria Hattam, Fiona Raby and Tony Dunne), 2017-2019 ($225,000)

    Expanded Sanctuary Working Group, Mellon Engaged Scholarship Fund (2017-18), with Alexandra Delano, Abou Farman and Anne McNevin

    Graduate Institute on Ethnography, Design and Social Thought Fellowship, 2016-17

    Princeton Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship, 2015-16


    Current Courses

    Feminist Dilemmas (Spring 2019)

    Human Rights & Humanitarianism (Spring 2019)

    Ind Senior Project

    Ind Senior Project (Spring 2019)

    Independent Study

    Independent Study (Spring 2019)

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