Olivia Killias

Olivia Killias, Dr.

wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin / Studienleitung BA

Phone: +41 44 635 22 38

Room number: AND 5.96


Office hours

Please send an email to ethno-studienleitung-BA@isek.uzh.ch to make an appointment.

Research interests

Globalisation, migration; memory; ageing; gender and sexuality; political anthropology; ethnographies of suspicion

Regional interests

Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia (Iranian diaspora); postcolonial Europe: Netherlands 

Short biography

Olivia Killias is a senior researcher and lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology (ISEK). She studied social sciences at the Universities of Lausanne and Amsterdam (UvA), and completed her PhD in social anthropology at the University of Bern. Olivia has taught on various subjects of anthropology at the Universities of Lausanne (2005), Neuchâtel (2006-2007), Bern (2007-2011), Berlin (2011) and Zurich (since 2014). She was also a visiting researcher at the Humboldt University of Berlin (2010), Oxford University (2010) and the Universiti Sains Malaysia (2012-2013).

Over the last few years, she has carried out long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Netherlands. Her dissertation dealt with domestic worker migration from Indonesia to Malaysia and was recently published as a book with NIAS Press: http://www.niaspress.dk/books/follow-maid. As a postdoc in the BMBF-Competence Network on ‘Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia’ at the Humboldt University of Berlin (2012-2014), she carried out ethnographic research on the migration of Iranian students to Malaysia and explored questions of everyday urban coexistence in a diverse high-rise building. Currently, she is working on a new research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation that deals with what has been called ‘culturally specific’ elderly care in the Netherlands. Zooming in on nursing homes explicitly designed to cater to Indisch elders born in the Dutch East Indies, she takes these nursing homes as an entry point to explore the relation between memory, ageing and loss in postcolonial Europe.