Matan Kaminer


Matan Kaminer


Cultural anthropology
Racial Capitalism
Political Ecology
Workplace Ethnography


Current Projects

I am working on a book, tentatively titled Capitalist Colonial and based on my dissertation, By the Sweat of Other Brows: Thai Migrant Workers and the Transformation of Israeli Settler Agriculture. I’m interested in how capitalist relations of production interact with colonial techniques of control at scales ranging from everyday interaction and the labor process to the transnational circuits of money, workforces and strategies of rural settlement.


Refereed Journal Articles

forthcoming    “Saving the face of the Arabah: Thai migrant workers and the asymmetries of community in an Israeli agricultural settlement.” American Ethnologist.

2020    with Yahel Kurlander, “Permanent workers in the back yard: Employing Thai agricultural labor migrants in the Israeli countryside.” Horizons in Geography 98, pp. 131-148 [Hebrew].

2019    “At the zero degree / Below the minimum: Wage as sign in Israel’s split labor market.” Dialectical Anthropology 43(3), pp. 317-332.

2018    “The Oksana Affair: Ambiguous Resistance in an Israeli Warehouse.” Ethnography 19(1), pp. 25-43.

          2016    “Skill.” Mafteakh: Lexical Review of Political Thought 10 (Spring), pp. 73-84 [Hebrew].

Books Edited

2019    The independent left in Israel, 1967-1993: Essays in memory of Noam Kaminer, ed. Matan Kaminer, Smadar Nehab, Carmel Kaminer, Joel Beinin, Arieh Dayan, Meir Amor, Anat Matar and Odeh Bisharat, Tel Aviv: November Books [Hebrew].

Book Chapters

2019    with Joel Beinin. “Introduction: The independent left in Israel, 1967-1993.” In The independent left in Israel, op. cit.

2018    “Connections Yet Unmade: The Reception of Balibar and Wallerstein’s Race, Nation, Class in Israel.” In“Race, Nation, Class”: Rereading a Dialogue for Our Times, ed. Manuela Bojadzijev, Katrin Klingan. Berlin: Argument-Verlag, pp. 170-77.

Non-Refereed Journal Articles

2020    “Giving them the slip: Israeli employers’ strategic falsification of pay slips to disguise the violation of Thai farmworkers’ right to the minimum wage.” Journal of Legal Anthropology 3(2), pp. 124-127 [Forum feature].

2019    “Averted gazes in the Arabah.” Hazman Hazeh (reprinted in Ha’aretz), 23 October [Hebrew].

2019    “Thai migrant workers in Israeli agriculture: A neoliberal solution to a colonial problem.” Israeli Affairs 74, pp. 65-74 [Arabic].

2016    “A Lonely Songkran in the Arabah.” Middle East Report 279 (Summer), pp. 34-37 [German trans. 8 March].

Book Reviews

2019    “Speculating on climate change in the UAE: Review of Spaceship in the Desert by Gökçe Günel,” Middle East Report.

2015    “A surplus of disaster: Review of Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith by Vincanne Adams,” Anthropological Quarterly 88, no. 1 (Winter), pp. 227-35.

Manuscripts in Submission

2020    “The political ecology of Zionism and the agricultural settlement of the Central Arabah,” International Journal of Middle East Studies.

Selected Other Publications

2020    “Jihad, universalism and the left: A conversation with Darryl Li.” Allegra Lab and LeftEast (extended version), 18 December.

2019    “A hundred Netanyahus.” Jacobin, 27 March.

2017    “From historical affinities to effective solidarities: Israel and Eastern Europe.” LeftEast, 10 October.

2015    “A long way from home: Isaan villagers’ experience of farmwork in Israel.” Isaan Record, 15 October.

2014    with Noa Shauer, “Below the minimum: Non-enforcement of wage law as a structural element in the agricultural sector in Israel.” Kav La’oved (Workers Hotline), June [English trans. January 2015].

2013    “Heading off the new Jerusalem.” Jacobin, 23 January.

2011    “On the current conjuncture in Israel.” Jadaliyya, 15 Aug.

2010    with Maya Shapiro, “Bubbling over: The contestation of urban space and possibilities for joint struggle in Tel Aviv.” In “Cities in turmoil,” special issue of Re-Public, ed. Gia Galati and Konstantin Kastrissianakis. October.

2007    “People’s History Here and Now – An interview with Howard Zinn,” in A People’s History of the United States. Tel Aviv: Babel [Hebrew].


               2019       Ph.D., University of Michigan, Department of Anthropology

                              Dissertation: By the Sweat of Other Brows: Thai Migrant Labor and the Transformation of Israeli Settler Agriculture.

                              Committee: Andrew Shryock (chair), Jason De León, Alaina Lemon, Daniel Nemser, Scott Stonington.

              2015         M.A., University of Michigan, Department of Anthropology

              2011         M.A., Tel Aviv University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

                               Thesis: Zero-Grade Labor: Worker Subjectivity in an Industrial Warehouse. Adviser: Dan Rabinowitz.

             2009 – 11  Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program for Outstanding Students, Tel Aviv University

Major Awards, Grants and Fellowships

2020-2024       Martin Buber Fellow, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

2020    Third Place, Guttman Award for Best Article, Israeli Sociological Society, for “At the zero degree / Below the minimum.”

2019    Integrated Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Haifa

2018    Rackham Humanities Research Candidacy Fellowship, University of Michigan

2017    Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Development Research Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Award

2016    Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship


From English

Mohandas Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa. Tel Aviv: Babel, 2014.

Ritchie York, Led Zeppelin. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2011.

Nissan Limor, ed. Regulation of Civil Society Organizations. Tel Aviv: HaKibbutz HaMeuhad, 2010.

Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang. Tel Aviv: Babel, 2010.

Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution. Tel Aviv: Resling: 2008.

Harry Mathews, My Life in CIA. Tel Aviv: Babel, 2008.

Frances Tustin, Autistic Barriers in Neurotic Patients. Tel Aviv: Tolaat Sfarim, 2008.

Ala Francis, ed. "Visual oxymoron,” "All that chic: Of geography and desire,” and "A Bali jacket,” in Chic Point: Fashion for Israeli Checkpoints. Tel Aviv: Andalus, 2007.

Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States. Tel Aviv: Babel, 2007.

From Spanish

Fidel Castro, Che Guevara as Remembered by Fidel Castro. Tel Aviv: Resling, 2010.


Invited Talks

2020    “Brown backs, white faces: Thai migrants saving the face of Israeli settlement in the Arabah.” Anthropological Forum, Department of Anthropology, University of Haifa, 1 June.

2020    “Saving the settlements’ face: Migrant workers, employers and the asymmetry of community in the Arabah.” Departmental Seminar, Department of Sociology, University of Haifa, 23 June.

2019    “Floating above the fields: The political neutralization of Thai migrant workers in the Arabah.” Departmental Seminar, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 15 April.

2017    “Settlement, racialization and social reproduction.” Borders and Sovereignty Research Cluster, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. 27 December.

Conferences Organized

2020    with Louise Bethlehem, Areej Sabbagh-Khoury and Revital Madar. “Concerning Palestine/Israel: Thinking with Achille Mbembe.” Academia for Equality, Jerusalem [online], 15 September.

2020    “Anthropology of Work and Anthropology as Work.” Israeli Anthropological Association and Academia for Equality, Ben-Gurion University, 12 March [postponed].

2012    with Efraim Davidi. Sixth Annual Marx Conference. Tel Aviv, 1-2 June.

Workshops Organized

              2017    Colloquium for Researchers of Thai Migration in Israel. Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, Tel Aviv, 31 August.

Panels Organized

2017    with Guy Shalev. “Neutrality in a Polarized Space.” Annual Meeting of the Israeli Anthropological Association, Kufr Qasem, 17-18 May.

2016    “Migrants in Border Zones.” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Minneapolis, 20-24 November.

Selected Papers Presented

2020    “From the Arab ‘father of the desert’ to the Thai ‘with the green thumb’: The ecological racialization of agricultural labor in Israel.” Annual Meeting of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, Lisbon [online], 22 July.

2019    “Gardens in the desert: From self-reliance to labor importation in the Israeli Arabah.” Annual Meeting of the American and Canadian Anthropological Associations, Vancouver, 22 November.

2019    “Revisiting ‘hyper-exploitation’ ethnographically: The case of Thai migrant farmworkers in Israel.” XII Conference of Italian Environmental Sociologists, Salerno, 26-7 September.

2019    “The tailandi’s jealous wife: Kinship ties and the disciplining of Thai migrant labor in Israel.” Globordered Intimacies Conference, Tel Aviv University, 16 June.

2019    “Labor settlement.” Minerva Center workshop on ‘Lexical concepts of work: Economics, life, resistance.’ Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, 4 June.

2018    “From ‘A light unto the nations’ to ‘the land of the white man’: Global migration and recent shifts in the racialization of migrants in Israel.” Research Workshop in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, Calcutta Research Group, Kolkata, 25-30 November.

2018    “The citizen and the tailandi: Racializing labor power in Israel.” Historical Materialism Conference, London, 8-11 November.

2018    “The production of differential labor-powers: Accounting for racialization with Marx.” Annual Meeting of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, Stockholm, 14-17 August.

2017    “The ethical neutralization of agricultural work in the Israeli Arabah.” Workshop on “Moral Economies: Work, Values and Economic Ethics,” Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Wittenberg, Germany, 6-9 December.

2017    “Transnational settler colonialism: The case of Thai labor migration to Israel.” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington DC, 29 November – 3 December.

2017    “Who Holds the Plow? Thai Migrants and the Neutralization of Farmwork in the Moshavim of the Arabah.” Annual Meeting of the Israeli Anthropological Association, Kufr Qasem, 17-18 May.

2016    “The Production of a ‘Neutral’ Work Force: Employing Thai Migrants on Israel’s Agrarian Frontier.” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Minneapolis, 20-24 November.

2014    “Skill.” Political Lexical Conference, Minerva Center for the Humanities, Tel Aviv University, 7 May.

2014    “No more Hebrew labor: The devaluation of agricultural work in Israel.” Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, Albuquerque, 20-22 March.

2013    “A semiotic model of the social field.” Michicagoan Graduate Conference for Linguistic Anthropology; Ann Arbor, 11-12 May.

2013    with Eilat Maoz and Tal Giladi. “The Politics of the Ethno-Nation and the Dynamic of Capital.” Impasses of Critique Conference at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. 1 September.