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Dr. Oliver Tappe

Profilbild Tappe

As an anthropologist and historian of Laos, Oliver Tappe has worked on a great variety of research topics: Communist historiography, history and memory of ethnic minorities, inter-ethnic relations, labour migration, and livelihood change. After finishing his PhD project on the politics of history and commemoration in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Oliver shifted his focus towards more marginal perspectives on the past. In Houaphan province (NE Laos), he explored the lifeworlds and memories of the local multi-ethnic population, focussing on cross-cultural interactions and sociopolitical dynamics from colonial times to the present. Another research project was dedicated to the study of historical patterns of labour migration and mobility in Laos (and Southeast Asia more generally), and current tendencies of Vietnamese labour migration to Laos.
 
Oliver’s DFG-funded research project at the University of Heidelberg now examines the interplay of labour and ritual in the tin mines of Khammouane (central Laos). Taking the example of artisanal and small-scale mining communities in the valley of the Nam Phathaen river, he investigates ritual practices related to the dangerous work in the mines, shifting labour regimes and gender relations, contested livelihoods, and changing human-nature relations. As the local peasant-miner communities are embedded in a larger political economy of resource extraction in Laos – including industrial mining operations run by Chinese and Vietnamese investors – this research also addresses broader questions of the social and environmental impact of extractivism in the Anthropocene.

 

CV


Current Position

Senior Researcher, University of Heidelberg, Department of Anthropology.
DFG Project (Eigene Stelle): Digging Deeper: Contested livelihoods and sociocosmological relations among artisanal miners in Laos (1893 to present).

Academic Positions

Visiting Research Fellow, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore
1-3/2020
 

Research Associate, University of Hamburg
ERC Horizon 2020 Consortium CRISEA (Competing Regional Integrations in Southeast Asia). Research project Historical trajectories of Vietnamese labour migration to Laos.
12/2017-12/2020
 

Senior Researcher, Global South Studies Center, University of Cologne
Research project Coolies, Revolutionaries, Migrants: Towards a Historical Anthropology of Labour Migration in Southeast Asia.
5/2014-12/2018
 

Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Research project Reconfigurations of the Past in an Ambiguous Present – Memory discourses, social change, and inter-ethnic relations in Houaphan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
4/2009-4/2014
 

PhD candidate, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Title of dissertation: Geschichte, Nationsbildung und Legitimationspolitik in Laos: Untersuchungen zur laotischen nationalen Historiographie und Ikonographie (published in 2008 by LIT-Verlag).
2004-2007

 

Recent Publications



Assessing the Micro-Macro Dimension of Integration/Disintegration Processes: The Case of Tin Mining in Laos. CRISEA Working Paper on Macro-Micro Dialogue Studies. 2020.
 

Patterns of Precarity: Historical trajectories of Vietnamese labour mobility. TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia 7/1 (2019): 19-42.
 

Lao Labour: Arbeitsverhältnisse am Beispiel des Zinnbergbaus in der Provinz Khammouane. südostasien 1/2019.
 

Variants of Frontier Mimesis: Colonial Encounter and Intercultural Interaction in the Lao-Vietnamese Uplands. Social Analysis 62/2 (2018): 51-75.
 

On the Right Track? The Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 2017. In: Daljit Singh and Malcolm Cook (ed.), Southeast Asian Affairs 2018, 169-183. Singapore: ISEAS.
 

Bonded Labour: Global and Comparative Perspectives (18th-21st Century). Bielefeld: transcript (co-edited with Sabine Damir-Geilsdorf, Ulrike Lindner, Gesine Müller, and Michael Zeuske). 2016.

 

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Latest Revision: 2021-02-16
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