Our Faculty

The Anthropology major features a diverse faculty with research and teaching expertise covering a wide range of topics and issues dedicated to exploring the social and cultural conditions of human life.

Nur Amali Ibrahim

Research Areas
Associate Professor Nur Amali Ibrahim is a sociocultural anthropologist who received his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the National University of Singapore and Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from New York University. He is broadly interested in the governance of populations and forms of citizen politics in the contemporary moment. His first book, Improvisational Islam: Indonesian Youths in a Time of Possibility (Cornell University Press, 2018), examines Muslim student activism in Indonesia following the nation’s political transition from authoritarianism to democracy. He is currently writing his second book, which focuses on the working class in Singapore.
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Teaching Subjects

Neoliberalism
Religion and Politics
Southeast Asia
Youth Movements

Lau Ting Hui

Research Areas
Dr Lau Ting Hui received her BA in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge and completed her PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology at Cornell University. She works with Indigenous Lisu subsistence farmers on the China-Myanmar border in the highlands of mainland Southeast Asia. Her current research focuses on affliction, development, and Indigenous well-being. Her continuing research agenda includes more-than-human anthropology, Asian colonialisms, and transnational Indigenous social movements in Southeast Asia.

Lau Ting Hui's book in progress, Wounds of Progress: Colonial Development and the Politics of Affliction on the China-Myanmar Border, examines the rise of afflictions such as haunting and alcohol madness among the Lisu, a transnational Indigenous community, in the context of Chinese state expansion. Combining medical, psychological, and environmental anthropology with decolonial feminist theories, Lau’s work seeks to rethink normative assumptions about what counts as the political, who economic development is for, and how to achieve well-being.
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Teaching Subjects

YSC3253 Anthropology of Development
YSS4261 Psychological Anthropology

Cecilia Van Hollen

Research Areas
See Dr. Van Hollen's here: https://www.ceciliavanhollen.com/.

Dr. Van Hollen is Professor and Head of Studies of Anthropology. She is a sociocultural anthropologist specializing in medical anthropology and gender studies in South Asia. Her ethnographic research examines social and cultural dimensions of health, medicine, and the body with a focus on social inequality and power and on discourses of modernity, nationalism, and development. Her research is primarily patient-centered, exploring lower class and lower caste South Indian women’s responses to and experiences with global and public health programs for maternal health, HIV/AIDS, and cancer. She is currently working on her third book project entitled The Curse of the Kali Yuga: Searching for Meaning and Care for Cancer in India. This book is an ethnography of women’s views of and experiences with cancer in the midst of both an emerging cancer crisis and a global public health focus on providing access to cancer screening and treatment to women in India. The book address three main questions: How do sociocultural factors and political and economic transformations inform women’s ideas and practices relating to cancer? How do women’s responses to cancer shed light on social, cultural, political and economic dynamics in India today? Why is ethnographic research on cancer important for global public health policy?
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Teaching Subjects
  • Anthropology Capstone Seminar
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Culture and Reproductive Health and Medicine

Gabriele Koch

Research Areas
Dr Koch is a cultural anthropologist whose work focuses on how globalising human rights and labour rights discourses intersect with longstanding histories of gender, labour, and care in urban Japan. Her book project, Human Rights in Japan’s Libidinal Economy, explores contestations over the meaning of labour and rights in Tokyo’s mainstream commercial sex industry. In Japan, female sex workers are ambivalent about their work not because it involves sexual services but because it is female care work. At the same time that the short-term employment of young Japanese women in this industry is being normalised, labour and human rights advocates are politicising these women in new ways. Based on 21 months of ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, Dr Koch’s manuscript examines how intimate relations in Tokyo’s sex industry are implicated within recent political-economic transformations to explore why sex workers do not recognise themselves in the advocacy of competing rights movements.
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Teaching Subjects
  • The Anthropological Imagination
  • The Anthropology of Human Rights
  • Sexual Economies
  • Gender Perspectives in Anthropology

Stuart Earle Strange

Research Areas
Dr Strange’s research examines the nexus of knowledge, interaction, and personhood, with an emphasis on Afro- and Indo-Caribbean ritual practices, dreaming, and the politics of revelation. He has conducted ethnographic research in Suriname, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Ghana and the United States, with a future project planed in Singapore.
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Teaching Subjects
  • Religion, Ritual and Magic
  • Ethnography
  • The Anthropology of Dreams and Sleep

Neena Mahadev

Research Areas
Dr. Mahadev's specialisation is in the anthropology of religion and religious politics, with a focus on Buddhism and Christianity. She is also involved in study of forms of religiosity and ritual that fall beyond the scope of what are ordinarily classified as ‘World Religions’. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for HAU Journal of Ethnographic Theory.
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Teaching Subjects
  • Religion and the Media Turn
  • Introduction to Anthropology

Zachary M. Howlett

Research Areas
Dr Howlett is a political and historical anthropologist of China and overseas Chinese. His research combines interests in education and mobility, gender and family, culture and technology, and popular religion. His book in progress is entitled Fateful Rite of Passage: The National College Entrance Examination and the Myth of Meritocracy in Post-Mao China.
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Teaching Subjects
  • Modern Social Thought
  • Language, Culture, and Power
  • Anthropology of China