Dr Kenichi Tani

kenichi tani

Sasakawa Research Fellow, Oxford School of Global and Area Studies

Dr Kenichi Tani holds a PhD (2022) in Social Anthropology from Hitotsubashi University, Japan. He has an MSc from Hitotsubashi University (2013) and an MA from the University of Tehran (2017). He has spent a total of 44 months conducting anthropological fieldwork in Iran, focussing especially on Shi'i rituals in southern Tehran. Dr Tani's doctoral dissertation, which explored the relationship between the state and religion inherent in the Islamic Republic of Iran, was titled: The State and Hossein's Mourning Rituals in Contemporary Iran: Between Instrumentalism and the Discursive Tradition. The work offered an ethnographic description of Hossein's mourning rituals in contemporary Iran, including pilgrimage to Karbala, elegy, procession, chest beating, chain beating and other forms of self-flagellation, which sheds light on ambiguous aspects of the rituals itself. Building on his dissertation, Dr Tani is now preparing to publish a monograph for Hosei University Press in Japan.

He is also interested in Anthropology as a mode of relativising western knowledge production, and has published in Anthropological Theory. He has translated M. Strathern(ed)'s Audit Cultures into Japanese (2022, Suiseisha) with his colleagues, and is working on several projects translating anthropological monographs into Japanese.


Tani, K., & Sakai, K. (2020). Realizing the existence of blind spots in the ‘West’: A systems-theoretical perspective. Anthropological Theory, 20(4), 438–454. https://doi.org/10.1177/1463499619859107

Research and Expertise: Iran, Anthropology of Islam, Shi'i Ritual, Criticism of Secularism, Ethnography, Ontological turn