© Thomas Stodulka

Prof. Dr. Thomas Stodulka


Universität Münster
Institut für Ethnologie
Studtstraße 21, Raum 3.6
D-48149 Münster
Tel.: + 49 251 83-27320

  • Aktuelles

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    Die Termine der Sprechstunde im Wintersemester 2023/24 folgen in Kürze.

  • Research

    My first research project was based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork with marginalized communities in Indonesia between 2001 and 2015. In an applied anthropological manner, this study collaborated with street-related youth, local and expatriate NGO-networks, doctors, nurses, and artists. The ethnographic study elucidated practices of coping with stigmatization by following the lives and trajectories of street-related persons and communities. It examined practices of care and the expanding social, economic, and spatial mobilities at the margins. The study contributed to the formulation of anthropological theory on attention and avoidance, emotion and economy in marginalized environments.

    My second longer-term anthropology project that followed was titled “The Researcher’s Affects” (2013 to 2018). The project focused on the role of affect, embodiment, and emotions in ethnographic research and contributed to multimodal research methods in social and cultural anthropology, literature, and primatology. It has manifested in a series of books, peer reviewed articles, art installations, a documentary, and it has developed a kaleidoscope of ethnographic and text analysis methods. The scholarly works have emplaced these methods in internationally renowned handbooks and encyclopedias. Three other projects that I have co-directed in larger interdisciplinary consortiums promoted anthropology among more hegemonic disciplines, such as data science, health economics, neuroscience, and psychology. The collaborative projects focused on transcultural dimensions of envy and social inequality, big data research, ethics and archiving, and publicly engaged anthropology in the context of migration, im/mobility, and refugees.

    My commitment to research collaboration is further substantiated through my role as editor of internationally leading journals, blogs and book series, and as the co-founder and initiator of international research networks. I enjoy expanding existing networks with scholars working at universities, organizations, and civil society movements based in Asia and beyond. I collaborate with a group of scholars on school gardens and global knowledge circulation in the context of education, environmental activism and imagining futures. This is my third long-term study focus, which circles back to one of the facets of my first research where I followed marginalized communities that were particularly successful in advancing organic gardening in Indonesia together with translocal actors from Europe, Australia and America. The project expands on permaculture networks and focusses on how permaculture and school garden curricula can shape futures, livelihoods, personhoods and economies across Southeast Asia. Another ongoing and major focus of my work are collaborative methods and decolonial thought in research on mental health and illness at the urban and rural margins in Indonesia and beyond.

  • Research Interests

    • Affect and Emotion
    • Education, Economy, and Environment
    • Childhood and Youth
    • Ethnographic Methods and Collaborations
    • Marginalization, Stigmatization, and Mental Health
    • Psychological Anthropology
    • Public Anthropology
    • Social Inequalities and Mobilities
    • Visual Anthropology
  • Teaching Approach

    I use group walking sessions to learn more about student’s theoretical interest and scholarly motivation at the beginning of a semester. The 90-120 minutes walking sessions help in learning about students’ concerns at the onset of a semester, or when discussing public or political issues related to the course work in resonating public spaces. They also create a mobile format of bringing students into peer dialogue and conversation.

    Regular writing assignments include short response papers to texts, ad hoc essays on exploratory focused observation (e.g. in the U-Bahn: on embodiment and mobile technology practices; or positioned family ‘genealogies’: to illustrate the challenges and shortcomings of quantitative methods) or full essays that summarize main arguments of core readings, contextualize them historically, politically, and in a reflexive manner. The essays written in the seminars on suffering and well-being, and critical perspectives on mental health and illness have, for example, resulted in the publication of a blog titled ‘anthro-metronom’ that MA-students initiated and which I supervise on a voluntary basis.

    ‘World café’ sessions divide large groups into smaller sections to discuss central arguments of core texts or critical statements of politicians, journalists, activists etc. as they were published in blogs and newspapers. Volunteering ‘table hosts’ then summarize the main results and present them to the whole group. In the MA level, I use this method to help students design research proposals at the end of the teaching term.

    I adopt flash presentations of 7 minutes (sharp!) on topics that students choose themselves to ‘pitch’ ideas to an audience and get their attention for further discussion. This exercise is important for students to focus on main arguments based on previous readings and self-organized literature research, and win over the audience’s attention through engaging in mixed media presentations. I convey my feedback to them based on the criteria of eloquence, clarity of argument, creativity of argument and presentation, and subsequent moderation/Q&A of the discussion during weekly open door office hours.

    I hold regular supervision colloquiums for doctorate and MA students as well as hosted postdoc fellows in an ‘Ethnography Workroom’. Here, didactics are not oriented towards issues of performativity. As the title suggests, this process encourages early-career scholars to share their challenges, dead-ends, and also potential research-related frustration with myself and the group.

    My approach draws on the principles of intersectional teaching, which emphasizes inclusive and culture fair teaching practices. This awareness relates to the establishment of rather simple conventions of addressing each other in non-heteronormative ways or paying attention to language deficiencies in the course language, to more complex political and personal issues of racism, sexism, and bullying. I bring this awareness to my research, teaching, and service. Attending to students’ positionalities and biographies is important, because it promotes a diversification of voices in classrooms and at departments. I support applications of doctorate students from different backgrounds and I strive for a diversified cohort of doctorate students.

  • Teaching

    Teaching in the winter semester 2023/24

    084876 Anthropologie und Artefakt: Dekoloniale Debatten
    12.10.23 - 01.02.24, Do 14-16, STU 105 (2.10)
    084879 Institutscolloquium: Decolonising Anthropology
    14-täglich, 19.10.23 - 01.02.24, Do 18-20, STU 105 (2.10)
    084880 Foundations of Empirical Research
    10.10.23 - 30.01.24, Di 16-18, STU 102 (2.4)
    084882 Eco-social Movements and Pedagogies of Resistance in Southeast Asia
    11.10.23 - 31.01.24, Mi 10-12, STU 102 (2.4)
    084885 Colloquium
    11.10.23 - 31.01.24, Mi 14-16, STU 102 (2.4)
  • List of Publications


    Edited Books

    Edited Journal Special Issues

    Journal Articles

    Book Chapters

    Book Reviews



    Other Publications (not peer-reviewed, selected)

  • Vita


    2013 Dr. phil. in Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin
     2004 M.A. in Social and Cultural Anthropology, Visual Anthropology, Media and Communication Studies, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

    Professional Appointments

    2016–2023 Professor (W1), Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin; positive evaluation (06/2019, habilitation equivalent and contract extension)
    2020–2021 Research Fellowship, Leipzig Lab Working Group ‘Children and Nature’, Universität Leipzig
    2016 EURIAS Resident Research Fellow, Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Amsterdam, Netherlands
    2014–2015  Resident Research Fellow, Center for Social and Democratic Studies, Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta, Indonesia
    2013–2018 Project Director “The Researchers’ Affects”. International Research Group (VolkswagenStiftung), Cluster of Excellence “Languages of Emotion”, Freie Universität Berlin
    2008–2013 Assistant and Research Fellow, Interdisciplinary Cluster of Excellence “Languages of Emotion”, Freie Universität Berlin
  • Grants and awards

  • Editorial Board and other services

    Editorial Offices