Samuel Joseph Williams

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Research Interests

Economic Anthropology; Anthropology of Art and Material Culture; Anthropology of Ethics and Morality; History of Anthropology; Economy, Philosophy, and Social Theory

Research Area(s)


Trained in social anthropology at the University of Sydney (BA Hons, BSc Adv) and Princeton University (MA, PhD), Samuel Williams is an economic anthropologist who specialises in the qualitative study of markets. His research on markets is informed by long-term ethnographic  fieldwork he has been conducting since the early 2000s with artisans and traders in three historic marketplaces in Istanbul – the Grand Bazaar, İstiklal Street, and the Port of Galata. In addition to anthropology of markets, Samuel also writes on the intellectual history of anthropology (especially pre-1923 Ottoman ethnology and post-WWII US anthropology) and on intersections between economy, philosophy, and social theory, with particular interests in the phenomenology of economic life and theories of value.

Prior to joining the Department for Anthropology of Economic Experimentation (2022-), Samuel was Andrew W Mellon Visiting Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art (2015-16) and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Musée du Quai Branly (2016-17) and the Max Planck – Cambridge Centre for Ethics, Economy, and Social Change (2018-2021). He has taught anthropology at Princeton University, University of London, and University of Innsbruck, and while at MPI, he contributes to undergraduate and graduate teaching in anthropology at Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg.


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