Weitere Informationen

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.



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
    Anthropology of Development
    Political Ecology

In the winter term (WS19/20), I will teach two courses. Both courses will take place on weekly basis. Please note that "Disrupted: (Infra)structures of the Urban" is meant for MA students only.
BA – Politische Ethnologie
MA – Disrupted: (Infra)structures of the Urban

For more information on these courses, click on the link "Lehrveranstaltungen."

If you’re interested in taking one of these courses, please register timely. Emailing me to express your interest and enquire about the course is welcome, but won’t replace an official registration.



Recent Publications


Building on Borrowed Time: Rising Waters and Infrastructural Breakdown in the Delta of Semarang. University of Minnesota Press.


Lukas Ley. (2018). Discipline and Drain: River Normalization and Semarang's Fight against Tidal Flooding. Indonesia, (105), 53-75.

Ley, L., & Krause, F. (2019). Ethnographic conversations with Wittfogel’s ghost: An introduction. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 37(7), 1151–1160.

"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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