Noah is a political anthropologist focusing on political structures and violence in the Middle East and South Asia and is currently Provost at Goddard College.
Noah has taught courses on the overlap of politics, power and culture. He has conducted over 5 years of field research in Afghanistan, and has also conducted field research in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Georgia, Turkey and India. His work looks at the impact of American militarism and imperialism, particularly in South Asia. His most recent book, The Last Days of the Afghan Republic, co-written with his friend Arsalan Noori, focuses on the way in which the American withdrawal destroyed a generation of Afghans who grew up under the American occupation believing that democracy and education would transform their country.
In addition, he has done research on international contractors from Nepal, the Republic of Georgia and India, who fought during the war in Afghanistan. He tells their stories and looks at what this means for the future of war and the American Empire in his book Under Contract: The Invisible Workers of America’s Global War.
You can follow him on Twitter: @NoahSCoburn.
In 2006-2008 Noah spent 18 months with a group of potters in the town of Istalif, some 30 miles north of Kabul. His book, Bazaar Politics: Power and Pottery in an Afghan Market Town, explains how various lineages of potters and other craftspeople in town worked together to maintain peace even while the insurgency grew rapidly in neighboring districts. This first full length ethnography from Afghanistan since the 1970s was reviewed in The New York Times, The Financial Times and elsewhere.