Dr. Michael Hoffmann

Senior Research Fellow of the University Cologne

Room: 5.009 (main building)
Phone: +49 (0)221-470 1130
Email: mhoffm16(at)uni-koeln.de
Office Hours: Arrangement by email

I am a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Cologne. Previously, I worked as a post-doc fellow in the research group "Industry and Inequality" at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. I received my PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences in 2012. I specialize on post-conflict politics, industrial abour relations, bonded labour, migration, and social movements, and have been engaged in ethnographic research of more than 30 months in western Nepal since 2008. My current focus at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Cologne is on issues surrounding labour migration from South Asia to Europe.

I have taught a number of courses that have been concerned on anthropological theory, the anthropology of south asia and the anthropology of work. In addition to my academic research, I also have an interest in filmmaking, and have recently been co-directed the ethnographic film 'Akil' which is currently running for various film festivals across the world including the Bogota Film Festival (Colombia) and the World Film Festival in Jakarta (Indonesia).

Curriculum vitae

Academic Positions

  • 2012-2015 Research Fellow within the 'Industry and Inequality' Research Group, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle

Education

  • 2012 PhD in Anthropology. Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Sciences (London, UK)
  • 2006 MSc Anthropology and Development. Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Sciences (London, UK)
  • 2002-2005 Studies of Anthropology, Philosophy, and Economics. Ludwig Maximillians University (Munich, Germany)
  • 2003 BSc in Computer Sciences. Technical University of Munich (Munich, Germany)

Teaching Experience

  • 2017 Lecturer at the Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Cologne, Germany. Undergraduate Seminar: "The Anthropology of Revolutions" 
  • 2016/17 Lecturer at the Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Cologne, Germany. Undergraduate Seminar: "Industrien und Soziale Ungleichheit in Südasien und Südamerika" (Industry & Inequality in South Asia and South America)
  • 2016 Lecturer at the Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Cologne, Germany. Undergraduate Seminar: "Ethnologische Konfliktforschung im Globalen Süden" (The Anthropology of Conflict in the Global South)
  • 2015/16 Lecturer at the Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Cologne, Germany. Undergraduate Seminar: "Industrien und Soziale Ungleichheit in Südasien" (Industry & Inequality in South Asia)
  • 2014 External Lecturer at Department of Anthropology, Halle University, Germany. Undergraduate Seminar: „Arbeit und Armut in Südasien” (Work and Poverty in South Asia)
  • 2011 Graduate Teaching Assistant Class Seminars for “The Anthropology of South Asia” (Dr. Alpa Shah), Department of Anthropology, Goldsmith University, London, England
  • 2010 Graduate Teaching Assistant Class Seminars for “Ethnography and Anthropological Theory” (AN101, Dr. Mukulika Bannerjee), Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Sciences, London, England

Lectures

  • "Teilnehmende Beobachtung mit Industriearbeitern", In "Teilnehmende Beobachtung in einer globalisierten Welt", Vortragsreihe, Institute for Social- and Cultural Anthropology, University of Cologne. 
  • “Labour in South Asia” In The Anthropology of South Asia In The Anthropology of South Asia Convened by Dr. Alpa Shah, Goldsmith University, University of London, November 2011
  • “Karl Marx: Key Concepts and Recent Anthropological Encounters” In Ethnography and Theory: Selected Texts, Convened by Dr. Mukulika Bannerjee, London School of Economics, 26th October 2010

Seminar Series

Idea-Giver and Chair of the “Ethnographic Perspectives of Work and Labour” at the London School of Economics, LSE (together with Dr. Andrew Sanchez) January 2010-March 2011

Fieldwork

  • 2015 Western Peloponnes, Greece (August-September)
  • 2015 Western Peloponnes, Greece (April)
  • 2014 Nepalgunj, Kathmandu (September-October)
  • 2013-2014 Nepalgunj, Banke District, Nepal (September – April)
  • 2013 Accham, Dhailekh District, Nepal (March - April)
  • 2010 Kailali District, Western Tarai Region of Nepal (July - August)
  • 2008-2009 Kailali District, Western Tarai Region of Nepal (January 08 - July 09)
  • 2007-2008 Gujarat, India (October 07 - January 08)

Publications

Books

Hoffmann, M.P. (forthcoming 2017). The Partial Revolution: Patronage, Exploitation and the Invisible Hand of Mao in Western Nepal. Berghahn Publications.
 
Current and Forthcoming Articles

Hoffmann, M.P. (forthcoming 2018). From Bonded- to Industrial Labour: Precarity, Maoism and Ethnicity in a Modern Industrial Factory in Western Nepal. In Modern Asian Studies. 

Hoffmann, M.P. (forthcoming 2017). From Casual to Permanent Work: Maoist Unionists and the Regularization of Contract Labour in Industries in Western Nepal. In C. Hann & J. Parry (eds) 'Industrial labor on the margins of capitalism: Precarity, class and the neoliberal subject'. 

Hoffmann, M.P. (forthcoming 2017). Rebels and Revolutionaries: Urban Mobilizations of the Kamaiya Movement in Post-Conflict, Western Nepal. In D. Kalb & M. Mollona 'Worldwide Urban Mobilizations'.

Hoffmann, M.P. (forthcoming 2017): Unfree Labor after the Maoist Revolution in western Nepal. In Contributions to Indian Sociology. Vol. 51.2. 

Hoffmann, M.P. (2015). In the Shadows of the Maoist Revolution: On the Role of the ‘People’s War’ in Facilitating the Occupation of Symbolic Space in Western Nepal. Critique of Anthropology 35:4.

Hoffmann, M.P. (2014). Red Salute at Work: Brick factory work in postconflict Kailali, western Nepal. Focaal 70: 67-80.

Hoffmann, M.P. (2014). A Symbiotic Coexistence: Nepal’s Maoist Movement and Labour Unions in an Urban Municipality in Post-conflict Far-western Tarai. Journal of South Asian Development December 9: 213-234.

Hoffmann, M.P. (2013). Labour unionism in a post-conflict context: Maoists, unionists, and formerly bonded labourers in an urban municipality in the Western Tarai. Halle/Saale: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Working Paper 145.

Blog Articles 

Hoffman, M.P. (2014). Strong vs. weak targets: Urban activist practices of the Kamaiya Movement in the western lowland of Nepal, FocaalBlog, October 30, www.focaalblog.com/2014/10/30/michael-hoffmann-strong-vs-weak-targets-urban-activist-practices-of-the-kamaiya-movement-in-the-western-lowland-of-nepal.

Recent Conferences

"Decent Work or Decent Sleep? Perspectives from a Workers' Compound in a Modern Food-Processing Factory in Western Nepal", at 'The Global South on the Move: Transforming Capitalism, Knowledge and Ecologies', 7-9 Juni 2017, Global South Studies Center, University of Cologne, Germany. 

"Informal Labour politics, Precarity and Resilience in a Modern Food-Processing Factory in Western, Post-Conflict Nepal". At the Labour Politics Workshop, Cambridge University, 21-22nd of April 2017, Department of Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK. 

"Industrial Labour in Nepal", at the departmental seminar JNU, Delhi, 7th of November 2016. Department of Sociology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India.

"Precarious Infrapobitics: Work and Autonomy of Contract Labor in a Modern Industrial Food-Processing Factory in Post-Conflict, Western Nepal", at the conference 'Visitions of futures from industrial workplaces: shop-floor reflexivism, work, political agency and social reproduction', EASA, Milan, 23rd of July 2016. 

"Commodity Chains and Labour in Western Nepal", at the conference 'Transformations in the Global South', University of Cologne, Germany, 27-29 May 2015. 

"Asking for and Getting Isthai Kam: Maoist unionists and the regularization of contract labour in industries in Western Nepal", at the conference 'Regular and Precarious Workers in Modern Industrial Settings', Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany, 6-9 May 2015.

"Trabajo precario y autonomía en una industria moderna en el periodo post-conflicto en Nepal", at the conference 'Cambios en el trabajo, la cultura del trabajo, y la identidad obrera', Centre Juan Marinello, Havanna, Cuba. 9th-12th January 2015.

“The rebellion in the shadow of a Maoist revolution: urban activist practices of the Kamaiya Movement in the western lowland of Nepal”, at EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists), University of Tallin, Estonia. 3rd August 2014. 

“Maoism and Debt-Bondage in Post-Conflict Nepal”, at ECSAS (European Conference of South Asian Studies), University of Zürich, Switzerland, 25th July 2014.

“Permanent vs. Contract Labour in a Modern Food-Processing Factory in Western Nepal”, at Inequality and Poverty and Inequality and Industry Workshop, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, 25th June 2014

“The Partial Revolution: Maoist Unionists in Industrial Factories of the Western Tarai of Nepal”, at Departmental Seminar, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, 30th of April 2014

“Three Cheers for Revolution? Maoist Unionists in Industrial Factories of the Western Tarai of Nepal”, at LSE Workshop on Inequality and Poverty in South Asia, London School of Economics and Political Sciences, 25th of April 2014

“The Freed Kamaiya Movement in Western Nepal: A fieldwork-based Account”, at South Asian University, New Delhi, 19th February 2014

“The Constraining Factors of Unfree Labour in Post-Conflict Nepal: Insights From a Brick Factory in Rural Kailali, Far-Western Tarai”, at Oberseminar Institute for Anthropology, LMU Munich, 8th July 2013

“Industry and Inequality in Nepal: A Perspective from the Industrial Area in Nepalgunj. Nepal”, at the Departmental Seminar, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, 8th June 2013

“The Encroachment of the Symbolic: An Urban Freed Kamaiya Camp in Kailali, Western Nepal”, at Second Second Preliminary Workshop: Industry and Inequality, 17th May 2013

Chair Departmental Seminar, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, 15th May 2013

Chair Departmental Seminar, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, 24th April 2013

“The boundaries of neo-bondage: brick-kiln work in the western Tarai”, at First Preliminary Workshop Industry and Inequality, 16th till 18th of January 2013

“The Invisible Hand of Mao Tse Tung: Politics, Labour and Mao’s Legacy in an Urban Municipality in Nepal’s Kailali district”, at Weekly Friday Seminar Series, LSE, 6th December 2011

“The role of business elites in reconstructing the Economy of Post-Conflict Nepal “presented at the “Conflict, Transition and Possibilities for Peace in Nepal’ conference in Kathmandu, 3-4 July 2010

“Neo-bondage, Maoism, and Escapes to India” to be presented at the ESRC-sponsored conference “Working Lives in Changing Regional Economies” at Sussex University, 1-2 July 2010

Discussant at “Conflicts in Time: rethinking contemporary globalisation” Conference at the Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics, May 2010

Ethnographic Films

Hoffmann, M.P. (2014) Akil (Awareness). Co-directed with Director Tommaso Dolcetta.

Honours & Prizes

  • 2015      World Film Award, World Film Festival, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2011-12 Bagri-Fellowship at the Asia Research Centre, LSE
  • 2010-11 Alfred Gell Memorial Scholarship, Department of Anthropology, LSE
  • 2009-10 Departmental Grant, Department of Anthropology, LSE
  • 2007-09 Departmental Grant, Department of Anthropology, LSE
  • 2007      University of London Travel Fund, University of London

Languages

  • German (native)
  • English (fluent)
  • Spanish (fluent)
  • Hindi (intermediate)
  • Nepali (intermediate)
  • French (beginner)
  • Greek (beginner)