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.

Curriculum Vitae


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. Advisor: Andrew Shryock.

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

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

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


2020 – 24     Postdoctoral Fellow, Martin Buber Society, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

2019 – 20     Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of Haifa

                     Advisor: Tali Kristal.


Refereed Journal Articles

2022     “Saving the face of the Arabah: Thai migrant workers and the asymmetries of community in an Israeli agricultural settlement.” American Ethnologist 49(1), 118-131.

2021     “The political ecology of Zionism and the agricultural settlement of the Central Arabah.” International Journal of Middle East Studies, published online 21 December.

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

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].

Manuscripts in “revise and resubmit” stage

M. Kaminer and Tali Kristal, “Technological Change and Workplace Relations in the Era of Global Capitalism.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.

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

2022     “Review of Projectland: Life in a Lao Socialist Model Village by Holly High.” Journal of Contemporary Asia, published online 8 March.

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.

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].


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.

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

2016     Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship.


2022     “Towards a political ecology of Zionism.” Political Ecology Lab, University of California Davis, 9 May.

2022     “Karmic reciprocity and the social reproduction of Thai migrant workers in Israel.” Department of Asian Studies Seminar, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 11 May [postponed].

2021     “Saving the face of the Arabah: How migrant workers from Thailand help to protect the appearance of ethnic purity in an Israeli agricultural settlement.” Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, Bangkok, 19 May.

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.” Department of Sociology Seminar, 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 and Workshops Organized

2022     with Natalia Gutkowski. “Research Workshop on the Political Ecology of Palestine/Israel.” Jerusalem, 7-8 April.

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

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

Panels Organized

2022     with Miri Lavi, discussant: Areej Sabbagh-Khoury. “Political Ecology of Palestine/Israel.” Jerusalem, 9 February.

2021     with Hadas Weiss, discussant: Tania Li. “Social Reproduction: Theory and Ethnography.” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, online, 17 November.

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

2016     “Migrants in Border Zones.” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Minneapolis, 22 November.

Selected Conference and Workshop Presentations

2021     “Violence of abstraction, violence of concretion.” Theory from the “Peripheries”: Rethinking Surplus Labour Research Workshop, Department of Anthropology, University of Bergen, Norway, 13–14 December.

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.

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 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.

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

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.


2019 – 20          Member, New Directions in the History of Israel/Palestine in the Twentieth Century Research Group, Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem.

2019                 Rackham One-Term Dissertation Fellowship, University of Michigan.

2018 –              Member, Lexicon of Political Thought Research Group, Minerva Center for the Humanities, Tel Aviv University.

2018                 Block Grant, Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan.

2018                 Rackham Program in Public Scholarship, University of Michigan.

2017 – 19          Research Fellow, Institute for Immigration and Social Integration, Ruppin Academic Center.

2017 – 18          Coordinator, Migration and Demography Section, Israeli Sociological Society.

2016                 Research Fellow, Dead Sea and Arava Research Center.

2016                 Thai Studies Grant, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan.

2016                 Rackham Graduate Student Research Award, University of Michigan.

2015                 Thai Studies Grant, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan.

2015                 Summer Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship in Thai, University of Michigan.

2014                 Rackham Graduate Student Research Award, University of Michigan.

2014                 Academic Year Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship in Thai, Univ. of Michigan.

2014                 Thai Studies Grant, University of Michigan.

2014                 Department of Anthropology Summer Research Grant, University of Michigan.

2013                 Department of Anthropology Summer Research Grant, University of Michigan.

2010                 Dean’s List for Academic Excellence, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tel Aviv University.

2009 – 11          Adi Lautman Memorial Stipend, Tel Aviv University.


2021                 Instructor,  Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “Forest, Field, Village, City: An Introduction to the Anthropology of Southeast Asia.”

2014                 Graduate Student Instructor, University of Michigan, “Introduction to Anthropology.”

2010                 Teaching Assistant, Tel Aviv University, “Introduction to Anthropology.”

2009 – 10          Teaching Assistant, Tel Aviv University, “Qualitative Research Methods.”

2009 –              Leader of various informal study and reading groups.


2009 – 10          Coordinator, Research Group on “Questions of Justice – Between Philosophy and Sociology,” Van Leer Jerusalem Institute.


2011 – 12          Chair of the board, La Escuelita (grassroots community organization of Latin American migrants in Tel Aviv).

2005 –              Translator from English and Spanish to Hebrew and Hebrew to English.

2004 –              Educator and writer on political and economic theory.

2005                 Secretary, Shomrei Mishpat – Rabbis for Human Rights.


2021 –              Member, Integrity Committee, European Association of Social Anthropology.

2018 – 19          Peer review, Comparative Literature and Culture, Men and Masculinities.


2014                 Representative for Rackham Graduate School, Central Student Government at the University of Michigan.

2010 – 11          Chair of the Audit Committee, Student Union at Tel Aviv University.

2009 – 10          Representative, Student Union at Tel Aviv University.


Academia for Equality: Co-founder, Executive Board member.

Israeli Sociological Society: Member, Migration and Demography Section.

American Anthropological Association: Member, Anthropology of Work Section.

European Association for Social Anthropology: Member.

Israeli Anthropological Association: Member.


Native Speaker of Hebrew and English; Fluent in Spanish; Advanced in Thai (Central and Isaan), Arabic (Standard and Palestinian Colloquial), French.

Software: Proficient in Excel, SPSS, NVivo, Scrivener, WordPress.

Video: Experienced in screenwriting.