SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Dr Gabriele vom Bruck

MSc PhD (London)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Gabriele Vom Bruck
Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Research Associate

Dr Gabriele vom Bruck
Email address:


Gabriele vom Bruck received her university education at the London School of Economics from where she received a DPhil. She taught at the L.S.E. and the University of Edinburgh before joining SOAS in 2005. She has held visiting fellowship in Paris, Berlin and Princeton. She has conducted extensive field research in the Republic of Yemen. One of her major studies, Islam, memory and morality, analyses the ambivalent ways in which the ruling elite of the Yemeni Imamate, which had enjoyed exclusive rights to the leadership for about a millennium, was incorporated into the republic in the aftermath of the 1962 revolution. Her latest monograph, Mirrored Loss, tells the story of Amat al-Latif al Wazir, only daughter of 'Abdullah al-Wazir, the leader of Yemen's constitutional movement of the mid-twentieth century for reform of the autocratic imamate. The movement culminated in a failed revolt which led to the family's downfall. The study explores how violence translates into tragedy in the personal realm, and how individual lives and larger cultural and political worlds intersect in Yemen. Gabriele vom Bruck’s current research project looks at the nature of photographs as relational objects in the making and enunciating of personal histories, seeking to understand the relationship between memory and the materiality of the image.

PhD Research

  • “Religion and spirituality in Iranian cinema”
  • ”Coachsurfing in Tunisia and Morocco: Hospitality, friendship and love” (2013)
  • Libyan Secrets: Sufism, Esoterism and Secrecy in the Jamahirya” (2013)
  • “The silent voice: Palestinian and Israeli nonviolent activism and resistance” (2013)
  • “Becoming beautiful: narratives of cosmetic surgery and temporality in Beirut” (2016)
  • “Governance in an Islamic state: Relations of protection between Imam Yahya Hamid al-Din and the Yemeni Jews as a sphere of action of religious and political actors” (2016)
  • “A critical analysis of state-society relations in post-Gulf War Kuwait” (2017)
  • “Living Outside State Law: How Stateless Women in Kuwait Access Justice and Pursue Human Rights” (since 2016/17)
    PhD publications (selective):
  • Nacim Pak, “Shi`i Islam in Iranian cinema: religion and spirituality in film” (London: I.B. Tauris 2017)
  • Igor Cherstich, Anthropologies of Revolution: Forging Time, People, and Worlds (2020)


  • Royal Anthropological Institute; Middle East Studies Association of North America
  • Region / Country specialist: Middle East / Arabian Peninsula / Yemen


PhD Students supervised
  • Dena Fakhro, Blood vengeance as a theme in the classical Arabic poetic tradition and its legacy

Ethnography of a selected region: Near & Middle East; Culture & Society of the Near & Middle East; Theory in Anthropology


Elites (Middle East); religion and politics; biography; memory


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Available for
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
Regional Expertise
  • Near and Middle East
Country Expertise
  • Yemen


Authored Books

vom Bruck, Gabriele (2019) Mirrored Loss: A Yemeni Woman's Life Story. London: Hurst.

Vom Bruck, Gabriele (2005) Islam, Memory, and Morality in Yemen. Ruling Families in Transition. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.


Vom Bruck, Gabriele (2018) 'Submerged History: Fragments for a Biographic Narrative of 1948'. Journal of Arabian Studies, (8) 1, pp 66-86.

Vom Bruck, Gabriele (2008) 'Naturalising, Neutralising Women's Bodies: The "Headscarf Affair" and the Politics of Representation'. Identities, (15) 1, pp 51-79.

Vom Bruck, Gabriele (2005) 'The Imagined 'Consumer Democracy' and Elite (Re)production in Yemen'. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, (11) 2, pp 255-75.

Edited Books or Journals

Tripp, Charles and vom Bruck, Gabriele, (eds.), (2017) Precarious Belongings: Being Shiʿi in Non-Shiʿi Worlds. London, UK: Centre for Academic Shiʿa Studies (CASS).

Book Chapters

Vom Bruck, Gabriele (2017) 'How the past casts its shadows: Struggles for ascendancy in northern Yemen in the post-Salih era'. In: Vom Bruck, Gabriele and Tripp, Charles, (eds.), Precarious belonging: Being Shi’i in non-Shi’i worlds. London: The Centre for Academic Shiʿa Studies (CASS).

Vom Bruck, Gabriele and Tripp, Charles (2017) 'Introduction'. In: Vom Bruck, Gabriele and Tripp, Charles, (eds.), Precarious belonging: Being Shi’i in non-Shi`i worlds. London: Centre for Academic Shia Studies, pp 1-26.

Vom Bruck, Gabriele and Alwazir, Atiaf and Wiacek, Benjamin (2014) 'Yemen: revolution suspended?'. In: Gerges, Fawz A., (ed.), The New Middle East Protest and Revolution in the Arab World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp 285-308.

Vom Bruck, Gabriele (2006) 'Names as Bodily Signs'. In: Vom Bruck, G. and Bodenhorn, B., (eds.), The Anthropology of Names and Naming.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 226-250.

Vom Bruck, Gabriele (2004) 'Evacuating Memory in Postrevolutionary Yemen'. In: Al-Rasheed, M. and Vitalis, R., (eds.), Counter-Narratives. History, Contemporary Society, and Politics in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. London: Palgrave MacMillan, pp 229-245.

Book Reviews

Vom Bruck, Gabriele (2018) 'Review of: Of Sand and Soil: Genealogy and Tribal Belonging in Saudi Arabia by Nadav Samin. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015'. Die Welt des Islams, (58) 2, pp 249-253.


Vom Bruck, Gabriele (2011) 'When will Yemen’s night really end?'.


This list was last generated on Saturday, 23rd January 2021, 12:23 Europe/London.