Current MPhil/PhD students

In this section


Details of the departments current MPhil/PhD students and their research

Expand each section below to see what our research students are up to.

Chinedu Anyanwu

Supervisors: Emma Tarlo, Rebekah Lee

British African-Caribbean Women's Conversion to Islam

Eirini Chryssocheri

Supervisors: Victoria Goddard, Steve Nugent

Memory and place: Alexandrian Greeks

Cy Elliott-Smith

Supervisors: Nicholas De Genova; Alpa Shah

Visa Agencies, Embassies and Negotiating the Grey Areas of Border Regimes

My topic is based on the travel visa industry in London. From embassy to Multi-national Corporation, the visa industry acts as a broker through the vagaries of culturally distinct bureaucracies. It functions as one of the veils of capitalism, a functional and discrete alternative to ‘applying directly’.

By utilising esoteric systems of knowledge and a variety of informal networks from embassy to embassy those in the industry can provide a fast and effective negotiation through the pitfalls of overly rationalised and esoteric systems, many of which retain the legacy of colonial era administrations. However this niche industry is now changing, the growth in embassies using outsourced privatised application centres and the emergence of large multinational visa agencies who are effectively attempting to corner the market has given rise to new and interesting tensions.

From its history of travel agency sideline via arms industry slush funds to surveillance profiteers, this industry provides examples of both how practices and relationships at a micro-level function to maintain the spigot of profit for nations and organisations around the world.

My areas of anthropological interest are mainly economic and political, and in particular I am interested in corruption, states, bureaucracy, law, exchange, commodities, symbols, migration, labour, surveillance and technologies.

Claudia Giannetto

An investigation of film practice and shared anthropology in the process of building the ethnic identity among a Mexican Mayan community of Eastern Yucatán

Ricardo Greene Flaten

Supervisors: Victoria GoddardMao Mollona

Negotiating Space- Domestic workers in gated communities in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Sarah Howard

Supervisors: Stephen Nugent, Pauline von Hellermann

Collective responsibility, collective shame? An ethnographic study of sanitation promotion in Amhara Region, Ethiopia

This research in a rural area of Ethiopia will look at what happens at local level when imported development schemes that want to produce 'empowered' self-governing citizens who can manage their own development meet a hierarchical model of civic participation tied to the state, in which development is seen as an enforceable reciprocal obligation rather than a right.

It will focus on a specific intervention, 'community-led total sanitation' (CLTS), an approach to promoting rural latrine use that began in Bangladesh in 2000 and is now touted as a global development success story, with the potential to catalyse further collective action. The aim of my research is to recover the history of sanitation as a means of forming citizens in the colonial and industrialising worlds, and to investigate the intersection of (post-)socialist state practices with the ‘will to empower’ or the ‘will to improve’, more typically associated with the production of neoliberal, self-managing citizens.

It will also address the symbolic and social implications of category-making and the borders they produce to explore the ways in which people targeted both comply and subvert the reforms. The topic looks at not only to the social implications of classifications of dirt and cleanliness, but also at the politics of seeing ‘community’ as a category at once distinct from state power and representative of constituent persons.

Jasmin Immonen

Supervisors: Nicholas De Genova, Victoira Goddard

My research looks at the tensions and contradictions in the modernist narrative of ‘moving forward’, salir adelante, in the emerging city of Pachacutec, built on top of sand mountains north of Lima, Peru. This I do by focusing on educational discourses, land-politics, youth’s gendered practices, employment aspirations and use of social media. I am specifically interested in the role citizenship takes in newly emerging spaces, and I locate my research in the context of changing state-society relations.

Claude Jousselin

Remembering turbulent times: accounting for adult ADHD through the reconstruction of childhood.

Brief working synopsis: ADHD has recently been redefined as a lifelong disorder. Based on ethnographic research in a specialist psychiatric clinic and in collaboration with a patient organisation, this thesis examines how adult ADHD is diagnosed in the UK. Most research in this field has been concerned with exposing the medicalisation of human experiences, with the potential to obscure adult experience of disabling symptoms.

Moving across clinic and support groups, my research traces the diagnostic process as it takes place between these sites, highlighting the multiple ways that ADHD in adults is conceptualised and enacted through memory practices and everyday ethical actions. Exploring the diagnosing of adult ADHD at this moment in time, a process stretched in time and space, also brings out unexpected ways of making kin in the UK, whereby children are making parents and kin relations are extended to strangers.

Presentations and exhibitions

24/6/14 “The Child is Father of the Man: Kinship and Memory as medical evidence”

Anthropology in London day, UCL, London

11/10/13 “The Scale and Scope of Adult ADHD support Groups in the UK”

ADDISS conference (Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support)


21/09/13 “Towards a Social Efficacy of treatment.”

IMPACT conference (International Multicentre Persistent ADHD CollaboraTion),

Institute of Psychiatry, London

8/7/14 “A detour into Qualitative Longitudinal Research during fieldwork”

NCRM research festival, Oxford


10/09/14 “Treating the Family: kinship relations and ADHD”

UKAAN 4th international Congress "Mind, Brain and Body"


Clate Korsant

Supervisors: Stephen Nugent, Pauline von Hellermann

From National Policy to Grassroots Activism: the Politics of Conservation in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula

This research follows the politics of conservation practice in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. The conservation movement’s shift in emphasis from buy-and-protect to “community outreach” and “sustainable development” has given rise to new forms of activism and land use that are reordering the experience of everyday life. Among such initiatives, ecotourism, environmental education, and grassroots activism each uniquely offer ways for understanding what Osa residents are doing now in relation to conservation politics, and how environmental claims are negotiated through practice. This is framed in the broad concern with the way that power dynamics are reflected in land use and new sustainability movements, constantly revealing questions of justice, inequality, and access to knowledge.

Charlotte Livingstone

Supervisors: Victoria GoddardGavin Weston

Youth, Police Occupation and Embodying New Forms of Citizenship in the Favelas of Rio De Janiero

Dionysia Manesi

Supervisors: Victoria Goddard, Frances Pine

Being Greek, Going Queer: Performing Female Homoerotic Subjectivity in Contemporary Greece

Alena Oaka

Supervisors: Frances Pine, Les Back

Souad Osseiran

Supervisors: Nicholas De Genova, Frances Pine

At the frontiers of Europe: Syrian migrants in Istanbul, 'waiting' practices in uncertain times

Matteo Saltalippi

Supervisors: Massimiliano Mollana, Victoria Goddard

Pictures of Class Struggle – a visual and anthropological analysis of labour unrest in Terni (Italy).

My research focuses on the long period of labour unrest occurred in the AST ThyssenKrupp steel factory in Terni (Central Italy) between 2014 and 2015 as a consequence of an industrial plan about severe workforce redundancy. The research looks at how, outside the gate in the factory forecourt during the protest, the workers overstepped the boundary of the protected production sphere and filled the public space, transforming an economic struggle into a political one.

The research project aims to investigate and question the notions of production, labour, perception of local history, identity, and sense of place, through the visual mean.

Through the documentary output, it seeks to expose the violence of class relation, class struggle and relative working class fragmentation, and ultimately the dialectical relation between global capitalistic forces and local labour.

The documentary results in a collaborative project in which the agency takes place on a mutual basis, in a mutual language shaped by the agent (filmmaker/researcher) and recipients (social actors and general spectators).


Presentations 2016 EASA Milan 'Anthropological legacies and human futures' 2016 Universty of Perugia ‘Political Imagination Laboratory’

Screenings 2016 Ethnofest – Athens Ethnographic Film Festival

Jessica Sklair

Supervisors: Steve Nugent

Philanthropy in Brazil and the UK: Wealth, Responsibility and the Pursuit of Social Change by Economic Elites

My PhD thesis explores the philanthropy of economic elites in Brazil and the UK, positing their practice as part of a global elite philanthropic project. It argues that this project serves to further the aims of global capitalism, while attempting to mitigate the negative effects of capitalism’s fallout. Although the historical development of elite philanthropy in Brazil and the UK has been markedly different, accounting for technical differences in contemporary practice in these countries, recent decades have seen attempts to build an institutionalised philanthropic sector in Brazil based on British (and American) models. Today, the conceptual and ideological framework for the design of philanthropy in both countries is remarkably similar. In ethnographic enquiry into this common project, practices under the banners of ‘philanthrocapitalism’ and ‘strategic philanthropy’ emerge as the expression of deeply held ideologies of social change. These relate to the transposition of corporate strategies to philanthropy, to market-based solutions to social problems, and to attempts to eradicate poverty via better incorporation of the poor into existing economic structures. This enquiry, however, reveals how other aspects of elite experience also become entangled in the philanthropic project. In Brazil and the UK, elites use philanthropy to forge positive identities of wealth, and as a tool for managing inheritance. Among Brazilian family businesses, historical family narratives of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility aid business succession processes, in attempts to keep family firms – and family capital – intact with the passing of time. Finally, this thesis explores the work of philanthropic intermediaries, and the central role played by philanthropy advising and donor education programmes in shaping and disseminating philanthropic trends. Ethnography among intermediaries, however, reveals myriad ambiguities in their work. These serve to highlight elite philanthropy’s inability to confront the structures of inequality inherent to global capitalism, and the corresponding limits to its own project.




Sklair, Jessica. 2010. A Filantropia Paulistana: Açoes sociais em uma cidade segregada. São Paulo: Editora Humanitas.

Book Section

Frúgoli Jr., Heitor and Sklair, Jessica. 2013. O bairro da Luz (São Paulo) e o Bairro Alto (Lisboa) nos entremeios de mudanças e permanências. In: Fortuna, Carlos and Leite, Rogerio Proença, (eds.) Diálogos Urbanos: Territórios, culturas, patrimónios. 1 ed. Coimbra: Almedina, pp. 75-103.

Article / Other

Sklair, Jessica. 2016. Philanthropy as Salvation: Can the rich save the world and should we let them try? Voices from Around the World (Online Journal of the Global South Studies Center Cologne), Jan. 2016 Issue.

Frúgoli Jr., Heitor and Sklair, Jessica. 2009. O Bairro da Luz em São Paulo: Questões antropológicas sobre o fenômeno da gentrification. Cuadernos de Antropología Social (Argentina), 30, pp. 119-136.

Sklair, Jessica. 2006. A Quarta Dimensão no Trabalho de Trinh T. Minh-ha: Desafios para a antropologia ou aprendendo a falar perto. Cadernos de Campo, Universidade de São Paulo, 14/15, pp. 133-143.

Maria Del Carmen Suarez

Supervisors: Alpa Shah, Nicholas De Genova

Iliana Tsankova

Supervisors: Frances PineVictoria Goddard

The interplay of gender and religion in the case of Bulgarian Roma women

William Wheeler

Supervisors: Pauline Von HellermannFrances Pine

Water and social relations in an Aral Sea fishing village

Anna Wilson

Supervisors: Stephen Nugent, Massimiliano Mollona

The economic impact of the international copper commodity trade on local mining populations in Peru.

My research explores the economic impact of the global copper commodity trade on high Andean communities local to a multinational mine in Peru. The study examines the changes to subsistence, wage-labour and trade patterns brought by large mines to local populations. Further, through the analysis of international copper trade flows and mining company structures, I examine potential linkages between actions and effects at different points in the commodity chain thereby linking the experience of copper extraction in Andean communities to the global trade in copper.

Jasmin Immonen

Supervisors: Nicholas De Genova, Victoira Goddard

Ephemeral Citizenships: Re-articulating the margins in the city of sand

My research looks at the tensions and contradictions in the modernist narrative of ‘moving forward’, salir adelante, in the emerging city of Pachacutec, built on top of sand mountains north of Lima, Peru. This I do by focusing on educational discourses, land-politics, youth’s gendered practices, employment aspirations and use of social media. I am specifically interested in the role citizenship takes in newly emerging spaces, and I locate my research in the context of changing state-society relations.

Elena Liber

Supervisors: Frances Pine; Emma Tarlo 

“And that’s how it was”: Small stories of big histories in post-Soviet Ukraine

My research investigates the transmission of alternative histories and memory in post-Maidan Ukraine. I carried out three periods of ethnographic fieldwork in Lviv, Ukraine, collecting life histories and examining the role of storytelling, material objects and landscape in the way the past is articulated.

CHASE AHRC Doctoral Studentship

Conference Papers

  • (2018) - "To the eternal memory of the event": Walking as a methodology for exploring the silent histories of Lviv, Ukraine. Elena Liber. EASA 2018: Staying Moving Settling. Stockholm, Sweden. 
  • (2019)  “It didn’t happen here or happen now but it happened to us”: How young people activate the memory of the Holodomor through fasting in Lviv, Ukraine. Anthropology in London Day 2019: Turbulence, UCL, University of London.
  • (Forthcoming) Generous Engagements: Towards an ethics of generosity in the classroom and beyond. ASA 2019: Anthropological Perspectives on Global Challenges, University of East Anglia. 

Convening Panel

  • (Forthcoming) Generosity and Analysis. ASA 2019: Anthropological Perspectives on Global Challenges, University of East Anglia.



Toby Austin Locke

Supervisors: Chris Wright, Isaac Marrero-Guillamón

Commoning Anthropologically: an attempt at the co-creation of general and moral economies of the commons in New Cross

The project is based in an attempt to establish a new institution for the commons and self-organisation in a previously derelict building in New Cross. Aiming to employ recursive, practice-based and co-productive methods, the research seeks to directly engage in commoning processes, understood as attempts to move outside the oppositions of public and private, and state and market.


The Living and the Dead. Toby Austin Locke. 2016. London: Repeater. ISBN 978-1910924327


The Figure of Death in The-Place-Where-The-Black-Caiman-Walks. Toby Austin Locke. 2016. Cultural Anthropology, Dialouges

Playing With The Possible. Toby Austin Locke. 2014. Wick Zine #5. Pp. 17-19. London: Public Works

Conference Papers

Self-Organising the Commons, The Right to the City and The Limits of Horizontalism. Toby Austin Locke. 2016. Urban Appropriation Strategies Conference. University of Kassel.


Manuel Alvarez

Supervisors: Victoria Goddard, Frances Pine 

Migration, Health and Emotion in London: HIV Prevention among Latin American Men Who Have Sex with Men

Ethnographic study exploring how emotions interact with other socio-cultural and political factors to shape Latin American MSM’s everyday lives to provide a better understanding of their migratory process and experience and its relation to HIV prevention.

Pauline Georgiou

Supervisors: Charlotte Joy, Massimiliano Mollona

Domestic Tourism in a Divided Land: Place, Identity and Affect in Cyprus

The research investigates the fundamental relationship between people and place in Cyprus. Cyprus’ unique political situation generates space for inquiry on themes such as identity formation and boundaries and the production and consumption of cultural heritage. The growing domestic tourism market provides a funnel for the exploration of these themes, while itself inviting questions on human/place relations. It soon emerges that expressions of affect lie at the core of the collected discourses, thus forming the basis of the ethnographic approach. The project is currently in the process of being written up.

Flora Bartlett

Supervisors: Dr. Chris WrightDr. Pauline von Hellerman 

Climate Change, Place and Personhood in Swedish Lapland

I am researching the impact of anthropogenic climate change on conceptions of place and personhood in the north of Sweden, using alternative photographic processes to explore the lived experience of changing landscapes for both Sami and non-Sami locals. I am using multiple photographic methods including salt printing, photograms, photo-elicitation, chemigrams and medium format to explore and convey local changes in landscape and weather, and the impact on self, personhood and belonging.

Awards: CHASE AHRC Doctoral Scholarship


Language and the Media Conference 2013 - ‘Rude on Reddit: Building and Breaking Social Identities Online’ (BA Dissertation)

Queen Mary, University of London’s English Language and Linguistics Postgraduate Conference 2013 - ‘Rude on Reddit: Building and Breaking Social Identities Online’ (BA Dissertation)

Malte Gembus

Supervisors: Dr. Gavin WestonDr. Mark Johnson

Young Mayan masks: Everyday and theatrical performance among Guatemalan migrants in Chiapas, Mexico.

My project explores the performance of identity in relation to diasporic Guatemalan youths in Southern Mexico. I will look at the performed identities of young Mayans in Chiapas, in a context where refugees, labour migrants, children and grandchildren of these groups, and those in transit to the United States live alongside pre-existing Chiapan Mayan groups. The research will explore the contextual deployment of registers of self through ‘conventional’ ethnographic methods while also employing theatre-based youth work techniques.

Phill Wilcox

Supervisors: Mark Johnson, Charlotte Joy

King Vatthana’s ghost: revolution, heritage and legitimacy in Laos

Laos has now been ruled as a one-party socialist state for almost forty years since the deposition of the last Lao King. Despite economic reforms that facilitate private enterprise, official nationalist discourse in Laos maintains socialist rhetoric with socialism an endpoint seemingly delayed indefinitely. This research investigates everyday understandings of nationalist discourse and people’s participation in and divergent views about Lao heritage in a context of change.

This is a qualitative, ethnographic study, focusing on the former royal capital of Luang Prabang. This project combines literature on transitional societies, national identity and the politics of the past to consider anew the uses of heritage to create and constrain dissenting voices.  It utilises Herzfeld’s and Anderson’s models of nationalism to consider public and private expressions of nationalist sentiments and negotiations of these. It explores the different spaces created, officially and unofficially, for expressing nationalist support and opposition and investigates how heritage features in the state attempts to facilitate and control those spaces and processes.


2014 – Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison for Lao language study

2015 – Emslie Horniman Scholarship from the Royal Anthropological Institute for fieldwork

2016 – Federation for Women Graduates Scholarship

2016 – Sir Richard Stapley Trust Scholarship


Forthcoming – ‘Contested Heritage in Luang Prabang’ in Padawangi, Rita (ed.) Handbook of Urban Heritage London: Routledge


Forthcoming – ‘‘The Chinese will come and we will no longer have jobs’: Chinese influence in a changing Laos’: Fifth International Conference on Asian Studies. Ottawa, Canada

2017 – ‘Making the past (dis)appear: heritage as legitimacy in Luang Prabang, Laos: seminar paper to ULB, Brussels

2016 – ‘Making the past (dis)appear: presentations of cultural heritage and history in Luang Prabang, Laos’:  Association of Southeast Asian Studies UK Biannual Conference

2016 – ‘Lose yourself in the timelessness of Luang Prabang’: Royal Geographical Society Biannual Conference

2015 – ‘Creating space for alternative political narratives in Laos’: 10th Singapore Graduate Forum on Southeast Asian Studies

Catherine Nugent

Supervisors: Dr Massimiliano Mollona and Professor Sophie Day

Government, industry and experts claim ultra-fast fibre optic telecommunications are essential to deliver the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution of big data applications, cloud computing, the “Internet of Things” and automation of work. Yet at the heart of the upgrade is an intricate task for engineers working in a congested urban landscape — replacing copper wiring, and threading fibre optic cables under pavements and roads.

This ethnographic research will follow the changing conditions, livelihoods and material complexities of the work for London engineers involved in upgrading broadband to “ultrafast”. The research will examine what these infrastructure workers produce, how they produce it, the perspectives they have on bringing connectivity to society.

The research will also investigate a micro-urban context for these installations — the uses, desires, and relationships that are being reshaped by the advent of ultrafast.

Award: SeNSS ERSC studentship