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Austrian Academy of Sciences
Institute for Social Anthropology

Dr. Marieke Brandt


Marieke Brandt holds a PhD in Cultural Sciences from Humboldt University in Berlin. From 2003 to 2008 she resided in Yemen, where she studied Arabic and worked in international development cooperation. Having received FES and DAAD research grants, from 2011 to 2013 she was a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow of the European Research Council (ERC). She is the author of ‘Tribes and Politics in Yemen: A History of the Houthi Conflict” (Hurst/Oxford University Press 2017) and numerous publications on tribalism, tribal genealogy and history, and tribe-state relation in Yemen. Currently, she holds a senior researcher position at the Austrian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Social Anthropology. Her research focuses on tribalism, tribal genealogy and history, and tribe–state relations in Southwest Arabia.


Publications & Activities


-Tribes and Politics in Yemen: A History of the Houthi Conflict, London: Hurst/Oxford University Press, 2017.

Articles and book chapters (peer reviewed)

- ‘The Huthi Enigma: Ansar Allah and the “Second Republic’, in Marie-Christine Heinze (ed.), Yemen and the Search for Stability: Power, Politics and Society After the Arab Spring, London: IB Tauris, pp. 160-183.

-‘The Delocalization of Fieldwork and (Re)Construction of Place: Doing Ethnography in Wartime Yemen’, International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES), Vol. 49, Iss. 3, pp. 506-510, DOI:

-‘Twelve Years of Shifting Sands: Conflict Mediation in Yemen 2004-2016,’ Jemen Report, Vol. 49, Iss. 1/2, pp. 104-116.

-‘The Global and the Local: Al-Qaeda and Yemen’s Tribes,’ in Olivier Roy and Virginie Collombier (eds.), Tribes and Global Jihadism, London: Hurst/Oxford University Press, pp.105-130.

-‘Heroic History, Disruptive Genealogy: Al-Hasan al-Hamdānī and the Historical Formation of the Shākir Tribe (Wāʾilah and Dahm) in al-Jawf, Yemen,’ Medieval Worlds 3/2016, pp. 116-145.

-‘Annäherungen an einen Konflikt: Chancen und Begrenzungen von Inter- und Transdisziplinarität in der Jemen-Forschung am Beispiel des Hūthī-Konflikts,’ Jemen-Report 46, 2015, 1/2, pp. 55-63.

‘Inhabiting Tribal Structures: Leadership Hierarchies in Tribal Upper Yemen (Hamdān & Khawlān b. ʿĀmir),’ in South Arabia Across History: Essays in Memory of Walter Dostal, Vienna 2014: Verlag der ÖAW.

-‘The Contemporary Structures and Historical Formation of the Khawlān and Jumāʿah Tribes in Saʿdah, Northwest Yemen,’ Anthropology of the Middle East 9/1, 2014, pp. 59-82.

-‘The Irregulars of the Saʿdah War: ‘Colonel Shaykhs’ and ‘Tribal Militias’ in Yemen’s Hūthī Conflict (2004-2010),’ in Helen Lackner (ed.), Why Yemen Matters: A Society in Transition (=SOAS Middle East Issues), London 2014: Saqi.

-‘Sufyān’s ‘Hybrid’ War: Tribal Politics During the Hūthī Conflict,’ Journal of Arabian Studies 3/1, 2013, pp. 120-138, DOI: 10.1080/21534764.2013.802942.

-‘Friedens-Shaykh und Kriegs-Shaykh: Der Übergang von Kriegsführerschaft bei den Banū Munebbih im Hūthī-Konflikt im Nordwest-Jemen,’ Anthropos 107, 2012, pp. 49-69.

Selected Popular Print Presentations

-‘Obituary: Abdulkarim al-Khaywani (1965-2015),’ British-Yemeni Society Journal 24, 2016, pp. 59-61.

-‘In Memoriam ‘Abd al-Karim al-Khaywani,’ Jemen-Report 47, 2016, pp. 82-83.

-‘The hidden realities behind Saudi Arabia’s Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen,’ Focaal, 15 May 2015,

-‘Iqlīm Ṣaʿda wa l-Jawf: Das problematische Erbe einer möglichen föderalen Provinz,’ Jemen-Report 45, 2014, pp. 32-39.

-‘Rückblick auf das Goldene Zeitalter des Jawf: Das Beduinenfestival Mahrajān Qarnāw als eine bemerkenswerte Friedensinitiative in einer krisengeschüttelten Provinz des Jemen,’ Jemen-Report 42, 2011, pp. 34-39.

-‘Vom Auszug der Gläubigen. Der Hūthī–Konflikt im Norden des Jemen,’ Informationsprojekt Naher und Mittlerer Osten (INAMO) 62, 2010, pp. 13-17.

-‘Der jemenitische Rechnungshof COCA und seine Rolle beim Schutz der öffentlichen Mittel und der Korruptionsbekämpfung im Jemen’, Jemen-Report 38/2007.

-‘Hamoud al-Hitar und die Praxis des kommunikativen Handelns’, Jemen-Report 37/1, 2006.

Conference Presentations

- (forthcoming) ‘A Tribe and Its States: Yemen’s 1972 Bayḥān Massacre revisited’, paper to be presented at the 51st Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), San Antonio, November 2018.

- (forthcoming) ‘The Tribal Factor in Yemen’s Huthi Crisis’, paper to be presented at Bergen University, 19 September 2018.

- ‘Some remarks on blood revenge (thaʾr) in contemporary Yemen’, paper presented at the workshop Yemen’s Living Heritage: Tribes and Tribalism into the 21st Century, Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 14-15 February 2018.

-‘Itineraries of Expansion: The Ṣaʿdah Wars Revisited’, paper presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), Boston, 19 November 2016.

-‘Yemen’s Arduous Road to Peace: Twelve Years of Mediation with the Houthis’, Gulf Research Meeting, Cambridge, 17 August 2016.

-‘Houthis and Tribes: Prospects for Tribalism in Houthi-Controlled Areas’, paper presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), Denver, 22 November 2015.

-‘Tribes and Jihadism in the Borderlands between Yemen and Saudi Arabia’, paper presented at Tribes and Jihadism conference, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies/European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole, 8 June 2015.

-‘Playing the ‘al-Qaeda card’ in Wāʾilah (Ṣaʿdah): Local power politics in Yemen’s northern frontier province’, paper presented at the World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES), Ankara, 18 August 2014.

-‘Visions of Statehood: Ansār Allah and the Second Republic’, paper presented at The New Yemen: Social, Cultural, and Political Ramifications of the ‘Revolution’ 3 Years After conference, University of Bonn, 17 June 2014.

-‘Between tribe and army: ‘Colonel Shaykhs’ and ‘Tribal Militias’ in Yemen’s Hūthī Conflict (2004-2010)’, paper presented at Yemen: Challenges for the Future conference, British Yemeni Society (BYS) and London Middle East Institute (LMEI) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, 11 January 2013.

-‘People and Positions: Observations on ‘tribal leadership’ among the tribes of Khawlān b. ʿĀmir’, paper presented at Südarabienforschung heute/South Arabian Studies today – in Memoriam Walter Dostal conference, Österreichische Orient-Gesellschaft Hammer-Purgstall and Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie, Vienna, 8 October 2012.

-‘Blood Revenge in Yemen during the 6th Hūthī War’, paper presented at Dialog statt Disparität: Perspektiven der Jemen-Forschung in Zeiten des Umbruchs workshop, Institute of Oriental Studies Otto-Friedrich University, Bamberg, 25 September 2012.

-‘Shifting the Power Structures: Political Developments in Saʿdah after the End of the 6th Hūthī War’, paper presented at 18th DAVO Congress, Deutscher Arbeitskreis Vorderer Orient, Berlin, 6 October 2011.