Naor H. Ben-Yehoyada

Naor H. Ben-Yehoyada

Research Interests

Research Concentrations

Relatedness, Seas and Littorals, Criminalization, Policing, Law and Society, Archives and Document


Mediterranean; Italy


Naor Ben-Yehoyada's work examines unauthorized migration, criminal justice, the aftermath of development, and transnational political imaginaries in the central and eastern Mediterranean. His monograph, The Mediterranean Incarnate: Transnational Region Formation between Sicily and Tunisia since World War II (Chicago Press, 2017), offers a historical anthropology of the recent re-emergence of the Mediterranean. He is specifically interested in the processes through which transnational regions form and dissipate. He proposes to view such spaces as ever-changing constellations, and show how we can to study them from the moving vessels that weave these constellations together and stage their social relations and dynamics in full view. He has also written shorter pieces about the different phases of the dynamics of maritime unauthorized migration and interdiction, as well as on the role that the Mediterranean’s seabed plays in Italian political retrospection.

His current project follows perpetual debate about what the Mafia is and how anti-Mafia forms of inquiry (by magistrates, journalists, political activists, police investigators) encounter this dilemma. It follows the recent trial regarding the 1988 murder of a journalist and the several preceding key criminal cases that the trial has revived, all of which, people still assume, involved the Mafia. He focuses on the doubts, suspicions, and disputes that arise at the intersection of different forms of inquiry by magistrates, journalists, police investigators, and politicians. He argues that the epistemic tensions between magistrates and other actors turn the wider field of anti-Mafia inquiry into a key moving site of the struggle over the relationship between law, society, and the state.


Harvard University, PhD in Social Anthropology, 2011
Tel Aviv University, MA in Sociology and Anthropology, 2005

2018. “Heritage Washed Ashore: Underwater Archaeology and Regionalist Imaginaries in the Central Mediterranean.” In Critically Mediterranean: Temporalities, Aesthetics, and Deployments of a Sea in Crisis, edited by yasser elhariry and Edwige Tamalet Talbayev, 217-239. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 

2018b. “Time at Sea, Time on Land: Temporal Horizons of Rescue and Refuge in the Mediterranean and Europe.” In Migration, Temporality, and Capitalism, edited by Pauline Gardiner Barber and Winnie Lem, 63–79. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 
2018c. “Where Do We Go When We Follow the Money? The Political-Economic Construction of Antimafia Investigators in Western Sicily.” History and Anthropology 29, no. 3: 359–375. 

2017. The Mediterranean Incarnate: Transnational Region Formation between Sicily and Tunisia since World War II. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2015. “‘Follow Me, and I Will Make You Fishers of Men’: The Moral and Political Scales of Migration in the Central Mediterranean.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 22, no. 1: 183-202.

2014. “Mediterranean Modernity?” In A Companion to Mediterranean History, edited by Peregrine Horden and Sharon Kinoshita, 107-121. London: Wiley & Sons.

2014b. “Transnational Political Cosmology: A Central Mediterranean Example.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 56, no. 4: 870-901.  

2013. “The Men Who Knew Too Much: Sardines, skills, and the labor process in Jaffa, Israel, 1948–1979.” Focaal - Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 2013, no. 63: 91-106. 


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