Tamta Khalvashi received her doctoral degree from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen in 2015. In 2009-2010, she was a Chevening Scholar at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford. Between 2016-2017, Tamta worked as a Fulbright Scholar at the Department of Anthropology, New York University, while also serving as assistant professor of anthropology at Free University of Tbilisi from 2015 to 2018. In 2018, Tamta became Associate Professor of anthropology at Ilia State University with an aim to develop a PhD program in anthropology. Since 2020 she is Professor of anthropology and a head of the PhD program in Social and Cultural Anthropology, while also serving as a core member of a collaborative Black Sea Networks Initiative at Columbia University.

Her research to date has explored affect and emotions in the domain of city, politics and infrastructure. Recently her research interests also include experimental ethnographic and interdisciplinary approaches to affect and emotion that combine anthropology with multimedia ethnography and documentary film-making. She has published on issues of shame and peripherality, dispossession and affect, infrastructure and breakdown, photography and urban change. Her article “The Horizons of Medea: Economies and Cosmologies of Dispossession in Georgia” (published in Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute) was given an Honorable Mention at Soyuz’s (Postsocialist Cultural Studies) annual article price in 2018.

Drawing on richly detailed ethnographic research in the Georgian Black Sea city of Batumi, Khalvashi is currently completing the manuscript Peripheral Affect: City, Shame and Marginality in Georgia that explores theoretical questions about affect, marginality and peripheral urban lives in the Black Sea city of Batumi. Based on family visual archives and new visual material gathered in Anaklia, she also continues working on a documentary film Adrift, which is an autobiographical experiment and reflection about spatial and temporal transformation of the Black Sea.

Scientific interests / research interests

Cities, infrastructures; affect; peripherality; shame; experimental ethnographic methods; interdisciplinary collaboration between anthropological theory, multimedia ethnography and documentary film-making; Georgia, Caucasus, the Black Sea region, and the postsocialist world.

(2019). „A Ride on the Elevator: Infrastructures of Brokenness and Repair in Georgia,“ in Repair, Brokenness, Breakthrough: Ethnographic Responses, edited by Francisco Martinez and Patrick Laviolette. London, Berghahn Books.

(2019). “Ascending Order”, in The Architectural Review. February, Issue 1454.

(2018). “The Horizons of Medea: Economies and Cosmologies of Dispossession in Georgia”, in Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute. 24(4).

(2018). “Ruinen der Einheit: Sympathien in der post-kosmopolitischen Stadt,” in Georgien, Neu Buchstabiert: Politik and Kultur Eines Landes Auf Dem Weg Nach Europa, edited by Luka Nakhutstrishvili. Bielefeld, Transcript Verlag.

(2018). Forward for Georgian translation, “Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology” by Thomas Hylland Eriksen. Tbilisi: Sakartvelos Matsne.

(2016). “Peripheries of Shame,” in Social and Political Aspects of Marginalization: Theory and Practice (Ed.) Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center, Tbilisi (in Georgian).

(2015). Peripheral Affects: Shame, Publics and Performance on the Margins of the Republic of Georgia. PhD dissertation. University of Copenhagen, Department of Anthropology.

(2014). “Capturing Marginality: Social Role of Photography in the Wake of Rapid Urban Development of Batumi, Georgia,” in Caucasus Analytical Digest, No. 62.

Current Courses

Course Catalog


Robots, Animals, Humans: An Introduction to Urban Anthropology;


Space, Materiality, and Affect


Anthropological Methods of Thinking and Research.

Affect: Anthropology of Body and Embodiment

Anthropological Methods
Introduction to Social Theory
Anthropology of borders and boundaries
Anthropology of Debt