Kimberly Arkin

Associate Professor

arkinOffice: 232 Bay State Road, 4th Floor
Office Phone: 617-353-5016
Spring 2020: M: 9:00-11:00; W: 10:00-12:00; or by appointment 

PhD, 2008 University of Chicago
MA, 2002 University of Chicago
BA, 1998 Harvard College

Areas of Expertise

National identity and belonging, secularity, Judaism, neoliberalism, personhood, medicine, France

Recent Publications 

2018 “Historicity, Peoplehood, and Politics: Holocaust talk in 21st century France” Comparative Studies in Society and History 60(4): 968-997. [2019 Berkshire conference article prize winner]

2017 “Jews, Jesus, and the problem of postcolonial Frenchness” Public Culture 29(3): 457-480.

2014 Rhinestones, Religion, and the Republic: Fashioning Jewishness in France. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

View Professor Arkin’s CV
View Professor Arkin’s Website

Current Research
Dr. Arkin is a cultural anthropologist whose work explores the surprising ways that a powerful and meaningful fiction of French national community—whether ethno-racial, cultural, and/or moral—has been produced, contested, and reproduced in the years following the turn of the millennium.  Her first book, Rhinestones, Religion, and the Republic: Fashioning Jewishness in France, showed how young, multiply liminal, upwardly mobile Parisian Jews of North African descent acted as a “wedge” minority in France. By tracing out young Jews’ everyday attempts to distinguish themselves from both “Arabs” and “the French,” Rhinestones explored the contingent production of normative Frenchness, on the one hand, and racial and religious “others,” on the other.  Dr. Arkin’s current book project, tentatively entitled Guardians of the Gate: Secularity and Medical Ethics on the French Mediterranean, again offers an ethnographic account of the French nation, but this time as a community of responsibility rather than belonging. Growing out of fieldwork with state-paid medical practitioners working in assisted reproduction and palliative care in three southern French hospitals, this project involves an ethnographic examination of how doctors and nurses argued for, understood, and enacted moral responsibility in relation to patients.


  • AN 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • AN 252 Ethnicity and Identity
  • AN 316 Contemporary European Ethnography
  • AN 462 Ethnography and Anthropological Theory II
  • AN 510 Proposal Writing in the Social Sciences
  • CC 211 Power, Political Forms, Economics