Dr. Benjamin Baumann

Profilbild Baumann

Before joining Heidelberg University’s Institute of Anthropology in April 2020 as a postdoctoral associate, I was research associate and pre-doctoral fellow at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin's Department of Southeast Asian Studies. In this function, I was the head of the local organization team for the 2019 EuroSEAS conference. I am a multidisciplinarily working anthropologist and received my PhD in Southeast Asian Studies in 2017. My ethnographic research examines rural lifeworlds, socio-cultural identities, and local language games in order to explicate the interrelationship between religion, social reproduction and communal belonging in the border regions between Thailand and Cambodia. I am currently working on a postdoctoral research project that outlines the possession complex at the heart of Thai animism and its emplacement in rural villages in Thailand’s lower Northeast. I am particularly interested in dividual personhood and how it is imagined in local language games. My current research looks at the cultic life of termite mounds and asks how a mutuality of being with various non-humans is reproduced in possession phenomena and mediumship rituals. My dissertation, Ghosts of Belonging: Searching for Khmerness in Rural Buriram critically reevaluates the naturalization of ethnicity as a theoretical paradigm in Thai studies in order to analyze how local self-understandings of Khmer-speakers contest Thai national discourses about cultural belonging and religion in everyday contexts. My dissertation was supervised by Guido Sprenger and Vincent Houben and nominated for the Humboldt Prize 2017. I majored in Anthropology and Southeast Asian Studies and obtained my M.A. degree with highest honours (1,0) from Freie Universität Berlin. My M.A. thesis “On Centrism and Dualism: Anthropological Models of Social Organization in Southeast Asia Reconsidered” was written under the supervision of Georg Pfeffer and nominated for the Rudolf Virchow Research Prize 2010.


Publications


MONOGRAPHS

2020 (forthcoming)
On Centrism and Dualism. House Societies in Southeast Asia Reconsidered. Glienicke: Galda Verlag
 

2017
Ghosts of Belonging: Searching for Khmerness in Rural Buriram. Dissertation, Southeast Asian Studies, Berlin: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (microfiches)
 

(CO-)EDITED VOLUMES

2020
Social Ontology, Sociocultures and Inequality in the Global South. Benjamin Baumann and Daniel Bultmann (eds.), New York: Routledge


2015
Reproduktion sozialer Ungleichheit in Deutschland. Boike Rehbein et al. (eds.), Konstanz und München: UVK.
 

JOURNAL ARTICLES

2019
Geister, Hexen und Gespenster – Die Welt des thailändischen Comic-Künstlers Tawee Witsanukorn. in: Thailand Rundschau. 02/2019, pp. 75-80 (together with Niccolas Verstappen)


2018
Das animistische Kollektiv. Lévy-Bruhl, soziale Ontologien und die Gegenseitigkeit von Menschen und nicht-Menschen in Thailand. in: Zeitschrift für Kultur- und Kollektivwissenschaft. 4 (2), pp. 129-166

Soziale Ontologie, Soziokulturen, Ungleichheit und Kollektive. in: Zeitschrift für Kultur- und Kollektivwissenschaft. 4 (2), pp. 7-28 (together with Boike Rehbein)

Ein thailändischer Bram Stoker. in: Südostasien. 4/2018 (together with Nicolas Verstappen)


2014
From Filth-Ghost to Khmer-Witch: Phi Krasue’s Changing Cinematic Construction and its Symbolism. in: Horror Studies. 5 (2), pp. 183-196


2013
Tamnan Krasue: Constructing a Khmer Ghost for a Thai Film. in: Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia. 14
Ein Khmer-Geist im Thai-Film. Geisterfilme, sozio-kulturelle Stereotype und thailändische Identität nach der Asienkrise. in: Südostasien. 4/2013, pp. 29-31
 

BOOK CHAPTERS

2020
“Introduction,” in: Benjamin Baumann and Daniel Bultmann (eds.), Social Ontology, Sociocultures and Inequality in the Global South. New York: Routledge, pp. 1-5 (with Daniel Bultmann)

“Rethinking the Social: Social Ontology, Sociocultures, and Social Inequality,” in: Benjamin Baumann and Daniel Bultmann (eds.) Social Ontology, Sociocultures and Inequality in the Global South. New York: Routledge, pp. 6-22 (with Boike Rehbein)

“Reconceptualizing the Cosmic Polity: The Tai Mueang as a Social Ontology,” in: Benjamin Baumann and Daniel Bultmann (eds.), Social Ontology, Sociocultures and Inequality in the Global South. New York: Routledge, pp. 42-66 


2018
“Ban Phi Pop.” in: Marie Ainslie and Kasia Ancuta (eds.) Thai Cinema: A Complete Guide. London: I.B. Tauris, pp. 64-66

“Krasue Sao.” in: Marie Ainslie and Kasia Ancuta (eds.) Thai Cinema: A Complete Guide. London: I.B. Tauris, pp. 52-54

“Krasue Valentine.” in: Marie Ainslie and Kasia Ancuta (eds.) Thai Cinema: A Complete Guide. London: I.B. Tauris, pp. 127-129


2017
“Tamnan Krasue: Constructing a Khmer Ghost for a Thai Film.” in: Pavin Chachavalpongpun (ed.) The Blooming Years: Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia. Kyoto: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, pp. 360-365

“Ewiges Feuer.” in: Lydia Hamann, Mirko Winkel and Karen Winzer (eds.) Finale Form: DeathLab, sieben Gespräche über Tod und Kunst. Berlin, 2017, pp. 32-47


2016
“The Khmer Witch Project: Demonizing the Khmer by Khmerizing a Demon.” in: Peter Bräunlein and Andrea Lauser (eds.) Ghost Movies in Southeast Asia and Beyond. Narratives, Cultural Contexts, Audiences. Leiden and Boston: Brill, pp. 141-183


2015
“Habitustypen.” in: Benjamin Baumann, Boike Rehbein et al. (eds), Reproduktion sozialer Ungleichheit in Deutschland. Konstanz und München: UVK, pp. 81-110


2013
“Einleitung.” in: Benjamin Baumann, Stefan Hoffmann and Maren Wilger (eds.), Der Tod im Kulturvergleich - Süd und Südostasiatische Perspektiven. Berlin: Südostasien Working Papers, No. 51. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, pp. 13-18


2007
“Relitik: Zur analytischen Untrennbarkeit von Religion und Politik im siamesischen Kontext.” in: Frederik Holst and Eva Streifenender (eds.) Myanmar. Berlin: Südostasien Working Papers, No. 32. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, pp. 47-61
 

WORKING PAPERS

2015
The Khmer Witch Project: Demonizing the Khmer by Khmerizing a Demon. Göttingen: DORISEA Working Paper Series, no. 19. University of Göttingen


2013
Der Tod im Kulturvergleich: Süd- und Südostasiatische Perspektiven. Benjamin Baumann, Stefan Hoffmann and Maren Wilger (eds.), Berlin: Südostasien Working Papers, no. 51. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


2010
On Centrism and Dualism - A Critical Reassessment of Structural Anthropology's Contribution to the Study of Southeast Asian Societies. Berlin: Südostasien Working Papers, no. 40. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin



BOOK REVIEWS (INVITED)

2019
Erik Davis “Deathpower. Buddhism’s Ritual Imagination in Cambodia.” New York, Columbia University Press, 2016, in: H-Buddhism


2018
Arnika Fuhrmann “Ghostly Desires. Queer Sexuality and Vernacular Buddhism in Contemporary Thai Cinema.” Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2016, in: Journal of Asian Studies 76 (4), pp. 1134-1136


2013
Kirsten Endres and Andrea Lauser (eds.): “Engaging the Spirit World. Popular Beliefs and Practices in Modern Southeast Asia.” New York, Berghahn Books, 2011, in: ANTHROPOS 108, pp. 652-653
 

2012
Barend J. Terwiel: “Monks and Magic. Revisiting a Classic Study of Religious Ceremonies in Thailand.” Copenhagen, NIAS Press, 2012, in: Aséanie 28, pp. 210-214
 

MANUSCRIPTS IN SUBMISSION

Small Places Large Issues Revisited: Reflections on an Ethnographically Founded Vision of New Area Studies. in: IQAS – International Quarterly for Asian Studies (with Danny Kretschmer, Johannes von Plato, Jona Pomerance, Tim Rössig)

Same Same but Different: Eine Dekonstruktion des paradoxographischen Trends in den Thai Studien. in: polylog. Zeitschrift für interkulturelles Philosophieren

“The Growing Professionalization of Thailand’s Possession Complex in the Lower Northeast.” in: Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière and Peter A. Jackson (eds.), A World Ever More Enchanted. Efflorescing Spirit Cults in Buddhist Southeast Asia. Copenhagen: NIAS Press

“Animist Collectivity and Spirit Possession in Thailand’s Lower Northeast.” in: Diana Espirito Santo and Maran Shapiro (eds.), Conceiving the Cosmos: Warping a Novel Anthropology of Spirit Possession. Durham: Duke University Press

“Masters of the Underground: Termite Mounds and the Mutuality of Chthonic and Human Beings in Northeastern Thailand.” in: Holly High (ed.), Stone Masters in Southeast Asia. Singapore: NUS Press

“Phi Krasue: Thailand’s Most Iconic Monster.” in: Simon Bacon (ed.), Monsters: A Companion. Oxford: Peter Lang
 

MANUSCRIPTS IN PREPARATION

Behind Phantom Walls. Numinal Belonging in Thailand’s Lower Northeast. (monograph based on dissertation manuscript)

Deities and Divas. Queer Ritual Specialists in Buddhist Southeast Asia. Benjamin Baumann and Peter A. Jackson (eds.), Copenhagen: NIAS Press

Contested Imaginations of Development between Empire, Nation, and World. book chapter (with Vincent Houben and Disha Karnad Jani)

“Troubled Gender: Gender Ambiguity as Mystic Capital in Professional Spirit Mediumship Cults in Northeast Thailand.” in: Benjamin Baumann and Peter A. Jackson (eds.), Deities and Divas. Queer Ritual Specialists in Buddhist Southeast Asia. Copenhagen: NIAS Press

“Epilogue: Performing Gender in Animist Ontologies” in: Benjamin Baumann and Peter A. Jackson (eds.), Deities and Divas. Queer Ritual Specialists in Buddhist Southeast Asia. Copenhagen: NIAS Press

 

 

 

 

Awards and Nominations



2018
Winner of the Humboldt-Prize for Excellence in Teaching 2017: ‘Heterogenität als Herausforderung’ (https://www.hu-berlin.de/de/pr/nachrichten/april-2018/nr_180424_00)
 

2017
Nominated for a Junior Fellowship, Society of Fellows, Harvard University (invited to campus talks)

Nominated for the ‘Humboldt Prize 2017’ (for the doctoral dissertation: Ghosts of Belonging: Searching for Khmerness in Rural Buriram), nominated by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
 

2010
Nominated for the ‘Rudolf Virchow Research Prize’ (for the magisterial thesis: On Centrism and Dualism: Anthropological Models of Social Organization in Southeast Asia Reconsidered), nominated by the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin

 

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