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Nils Ole Bubandt


Professor, PhD

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Nils Ole Bubandt

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I am an anthropologist with a long-term interest in the study of the "otherwise", in seeing how something we take for granted might well be different.  On the basis of fieldwork conducted in Indonesia over the last thirty years, I have studied how democracy may sometimes be awkwardly reproduced by corruption, and how corruption itself is implicated in conspiracy theories about the corona pandemic in Indonesia; how human-made environmental disruption and climate change are co-produced by animals and other nonhumans; how some stones might just possibly be alive; and how witchcraft might not be so different from a global viral pandemic as we might like to think.

My current research interests revolve around climate change and environmental disruption, multi-species ethnography and the strange time that is the Anthropocene.  Specifically, I am researching the relationship between coral death and the return of Jesus in Papua; the way care for songbirds on Java is leading to their extinction; and the conundrum of why noise music is a political provocation in Indonesia, a country in which few people otherwise worry or are upset about noise.


Current research projects:









When I am not teaching, I am:

  • Editor-in-Chief (with Mark Graham) of Ethnos, an international, peer-reviewed journal of anthropology.  Ethnos is included in the Social Citation Index and  in 2022 had an impact factor of more than 1,3 in the Thompson Citation Report, making it the premiere journal of anthropology in Europe and one of the highest-ranking in the world.  


I am currently tinkering with:

  1. A book on corals, conservation and the Second Coming of Christ
  2. A book about experimental music and political imaginaries in Indonesia (with Sanne Krogh Groth)
  3. An article about stones, geology and spirits in the Anthropocæne.
  4. An article about the Anthropocene as geological event (with Thomas Schwartz Wentzer)
  5. An article about post-truths, conspiracies, Argentina and Indonesia (with Noa Vaisman)
  6. An article about aesthetic equivocation in Javanese noise music (with Sanne Krogh Groth).
  7. A book chapter entitled "more-than-human holism"
  8. A book chapter entitled "Security - vernacular, multispecies, otherwise" for an anthology with Intervention Press about "vernacular security", a concept I coined in an article in 2005.
  9. A chapter about the bird-keeping, species extinction, and how humans teach birds to sing the songs of other species for bird competitions on Java. The chapter is part of the anthology What on Earth!  Outrage and Anthropology on a Disrupted Planetthat I edit with Peter Crawford for Anthem Press.



Selected publications