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ISEK - Institut für Sozialanthropologie und Empirische Kulturwissenschaft Ethnologie

Geoffrey Gowlland

Geoffrey Gowlland, Dr.

  • ehemaliger Dozent

Research interests

craft; material culture; learning and enskilment; indigenous people and indigeneity; cultural heritage; museum anthropology; visual anthropology

Research areas

China, Taiwan, Switzerland

Short bio

Geoffrey Gowlland is Researcher at the University of Geneva (Education Sciences), with an EU-funded Marie S. Curie Research Fellowship. Following the award of his PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, he has held research and teaching positions at the University of Oslo (Cultural History Museum), London School of Economics, and Brunel University (London). He has been a visiting researcher at the University of British Columbia, National Dong-hwa University (Taiwan), National Taiwan University, and the University of Kunming (China), and currently serves as panellist for the British Museum’s Endangered Material Knowledge Programme (

Dr Gowlland's research and publications draw on field research in China, Taiwan and Switzerland, and address a range of theoretical, empirical and methodological issues, including on craft practices, apprenticeship and ways of learning, Indigenous people and indigeneity, visual anthropology and museum representations of material practices, and the politics of heritage.

His current cross-disciplinary research applies conversation analysis approaches to processes of embodied and socially situated learning, with fieldwork among dry-stone masons in Switzerland. He also pursues research on issues of self-determination and revitalisation of cultural and material practices among Indigenous people in Taiwan. His previous research led to the publication of his monograph Reinventing Craft in China (Sean Kingston, 2017), that reflects on the consequences of China's modernisation projects on the practice and learning of a ceramics craft, Yixing zisha pottery.