Heath Cabot


Professor Heath Cabot will be on leave from September 1, 2022- April 30, 2023.  

Heath Cabot  (PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz 2010) is a political and legal anthropologist whose research examines citizenship, ethics, and rights in Europe, with a focus on Greece.

Research interests and areas of expertise: political and legal anthropology; anthropology of ethics and morality; migration, citizenship, and asylum; human and social rights; care and humanitarian governance; economies of redistribution; cultures of neoliberalism; ethnography of the state; Europe, Italy, Greece; epistemology and aesthetics. 

Graduate Recruitment

I am currently interested in receiving applications from prospective students with a recent track record of hard work and success in relevant fields (academic or professional), and who demonstrate intellectual humility and generosity. Prospective applicants should be familiar with my research and intellectual approach. Research interests do not need to be (indeed, should not be!) exactly in the “niche” of what I have done, but should overlap in productive ways with aspects of my own approach—topically, thematically, area-wise, or ethico-politically. Applicants should also articulate how the department as a whole, as well as other relevant resources on Pitt campus, could fit with their proposed intellectual trajectory.


Research Description

Asylum and Refugees in Greece

My first research project, which formed the basis for my book (On the Doorstep of Europe: Asylum and Citizenship in Greece, UPenn Press 2014), examined political asylum on the EU’s most porous external border. Between 2005 and 2013, I conducted twenty-two months of ethnographic fieldwork on asylum adjudication in Greece, social and legal support in the NGO sector, EU policy-making, and migrant and refugee political mobilizations. I show that while asylum law and humanitarian aid enact exclusion, they also speak to emergent configurations of Greek, European, and more global citizenship, often transforming knowledge, ethics, and judgment. 

Rights in Crisis: Humanitarian Governance on Europe’s Mediterranean Margins

I am currently working on a second book manuscript on the precaritization of human and social rights in austerity-ridden Greece through the prism of community-based healthcare. This project emerged directly from my earlier research, as I observed Greek citizens increasingly seeking services necessary for the sustenance of bodily health in extra-state venues, often alongside asylum seekers and refugees. This project is focused on “social pharmacies and clinics,” grassroots initiatives that provide care and medicines based on political-economic and social “solidarity.” Since 2011, these clinics have emerged throughout Greece, operating on horizontally-organized forms of voluntarism and redistribution. Pensioners, unemployed persons, and migrants and refugees work alongside each other to assist diverse groups of beneficiaries (some of whom are volunteers themselves) through the redistribution of medicines and care. I show how citizens and non-citizens alike in Greece are increasingly dependent on both formal and informal modes of humanitarian governance, which, I argue, throws into question the capacity of state and supranational governments to safeguard access to right on the margins of the global North.


Cabot, Heath (2014),  "On the Doorstep of Europe: Asylum and Citizenship in Greece". Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press.

Cabot, Heath. "The Business of Anthropology and the European Refugee Regime" American Ethnologist 46.3 (2019): 261-275.

Cabot, Heath. "The European  Refugee Crisis and Humanitarian Citizenship in Greece."  Ethnos 84.5 (2019): 747-771.

Cabot, Heath (2018) “‘She Goes with the Refugees:’ Desire and Knowledge at an Athenian NGO,” in Ethnographic Encounters, Richard Martinez and Dieter Haller ed. Bloomsbury.

Cabot, Heath (2018), “The Twilight Zone: Shifting Terrains of Asylum in Greece in the Age of Security and Austerity.” Living Under Austerity: Greek Society in Crisis, Evdoxios Doxiadis and Aimee Placas eds. London: Berghan. In press.

Cabot, Heath (2018), “The ‘Good’ Police Officer: Intimate Encounters with the State in Greece” The Anthropology of Police, William Garriott and Kevin Karpiak eds. NY: Routledge.

Cabot, Heath (2016) "'Contagious Solidarity:’ Reconfiguring Care and Citizenship in Greece's Social Clinics.' Social Anthropology, 24, 152-166.

Cabot, Heath (2016) “Refugee Voices Tragedy, Ghosts, and the Anthropology of Not Knowing." Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 0891241615625567.

Cabot, Heath (2016) “Crisis, Hot Spots, and Paper Pushers: A Reflection on Asylum in Greece,” Hot Spots, Cultural Anthropology website, June 28, 2016.

Cabot, Heath (2016) “The Chronicities of Crisis in Athens’ Social Solidarity Clinics,” 2016. Hot Spots, Cultural Anthropology website, April 21, 2016.

Cabot, Heath (2015) “The Banality of Solidarity,” Occasional Papers 7, Journal of Modern Greek Studies website, November, 2015. 

Cabot, Heath (2013) "Engagements and Interruptions: Mapping Emotion at An Athenian NGO." In: Fleischer, F. & Schlecker, M. (eds.) Careful Encounters: Ethnographies of Support. Palgrave MacMillan.

Cabot, Heath (2013) "The Social Aesthetics of Eligibility: NGO Aid and Indeterminacy in the Greek Asylum Process." American Ethnologist, 40, 452-466.

Cabot, Heath & Ramona Lenz (2012) "Borders of (In)Visibility in the Greek Aegean." In: Nogues Pedregal, A. M. (ed.) Culture and Society in Tourism Contexts. Bingley, U.K. : Emerald Press.

Cabot, Heath (2012) "The Governance of Things: Documenting Limbo in the Greek Asylum Procedure." PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review, 35, 11-29.