social change, development and modernity; energy and innovation; the social life of things and commodity chains; migration and (bonded) labour; gender, sexuality and kinship
Southeast Asia, in particular Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand
Annuska Derks is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Zurich and holds the chair of the department’s focus area on ‘Social Transformation Processes’. She has earned M.A. degrees in Social-Cultural Anthropology and in Development Studies, and a Ph.D. from Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She has held teaching and research positions at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities of Vietnam National University in Hanoi, the University of Bern, and the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich and has been an affiliated researcher at the Graduate Institute in Geneva and the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore. She has also worked as a research consultant for various NGO's and international organisations.
Annuska Derks has conducted extensive research in Southeast Asia and has a special interest in questions of social change, mobility and inequality. Her earlier research focused on migration and transnationalism; labour, bondage and trafficking; as well as on gender and sexuality in Cambodia and Thailand. Her next projects examine processes of development and change through a material lens and explore the movements and entanglements of things and people by tracing the social lives of everyday objects and spices in Vietnam. Her newest project looks into the making of innovation in Vietnam, in particular in relation to renewable energy and its power to shape the daily lives, social relations and aspirations of people, often with very unequal outcomes.
Ongoing Research Projects
- Aspirations for Change 4.0: The Making of Innovation in Vietnam
- ‘Spice Chains’: Vietnamese Star Anise, Global Markets, and the Making of an Indigenous Commodity
- A Social Biography of the Coal Briquette: Exploring Vietnam through an Ordinary Commodity