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Dr. Lukas Ley

Profilbild Ley2

Lukas Ley is a social anthropologist whose research focuses on water, water infrastructure, and disaster. In urban Java, where he conducted long-term ethnographic fieldwork, he studied the phenomenon of tidal flooding (“rob”). Apart from flooding, Ley is interested in climate change-related effects on politics and society at large.

In an ongoing postdoctoral research project, Ley studies how Semarang-based artists narrate kampung life to the public and become new mediators between residents and the local government.

Ley's new pastime is "hanging out" in Heidelberg's newest neighbourhood – the "Bahnstadt." By immersing himself in the social fabric of the entirely planned neighbourhood, he wants to understand this place's nascent social and cultural dynamics.



I’m conducting fieldwork in Indonesia until December 4th. As a result, I won’t be holding office hours. If you have urgent questions about grades, thesis writing, etc. please send me an email.
If you’re looking for a BA thesis supervisor, please send me a project outline (max. 2 pages) via email. I will try to get back to you as quickly as possible. I supervise BA and MA theses that touch on the following topics and fields:

  •  Urban Anthropology
  • Climate Change
  • Urban Marginalization
  • Water and Hydrosociality
  • Urbanism
  • Anthropology of Development
  • Political Ecology

After returning from Indonesia, I will teach two courses.
Both courses will take place on weekly basis.
BA – Urbane Ethnographie II: Trends, Debatten und Anwendungsmöglichkeiten
Wed, 11am-3pm
05.12.2018 – 06.02.2019
This course is designed for students who graduated from the introductory course last term and wish to pursue their ethnographic projects. However, if you didn’t take the introductory course but are currently conducting fieldwork for your undergraduate thesis (BA), you might be eligible to take this course. If this is the case, please contact me via email.
MA – Political Anthropology
Thu, 1-5pm
06.12.2018 – 07.02.2019

This course reviews anthropological approaches to the production and reproduction of political power, authority, and sovereignty. The course should be of interest to M.A. students seeking a deeper understanding of the structures of power that shape their own lives and the lives of the people they study.
If you’re interested in taking one of these courses, please register timely via LSF. Emailing me to express your interest and enquire about the course is welcome, but won’t replace an official registration.



Recent Publications


"On the margins of the hydrosocial: Quasi-events along a stagnant river," Geoforum, (for special issue by Luisa Cortesi and Alejandro Camargo).

Jacobs, Jane.” The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory, Bryan S. Turner (ed.), Blackwell Pub.

“Dry feet for all”: Flood management and chronic time in Semarang, Indonesia. ASEAS –
Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies
, 9(1), 107-126.

“Science knows the future while magic just guesses? Why we need to believe in order to know.” 360˚, 15, 102-108.  



"Hydraulic City: Water and the Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai"
(Nikhil Anand), City & Society.

"Owners of the Sidewalk" (D. M. Goldstein), Anthropos, April/Mai 2018 Ausgabe.



"The Years of Living Precariously - The 'Rob' Phenomenon in Semarang", Voices, Special Issue: Social Water.

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Letzte Änderung: 04.10.2018
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