Portrait of Dr Matthew Hodges

Dr Matthew Hodges

Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology

About

Dr Matthew Hodges took his doctorate at Goldsmiths, where he was subsequently a lecturer and visiting fellow. Prior to coming to Kent, he was based in the Department of Sociology and Philosophy, University of Exeter. Matthew also worked at the Royal Anthropological Institute, and taught creative writing and photography at the University of East Anglia.

Research interests

Dr Matthew Hodges’ research focuses on themes of modernity, social transformation and cultural rupture in rural Western Europe, primarily on the coastal lagoons of Mediterranean France, although he has also conducted long-term fieldwork in Gernika (‘Guernica’) and the Urdaibai Biosphere in the Basque Country. Spurred by the work of E. P. Thompson, John Berger and Paul Strand, among others, he is interested in cultural formations that lie ‘adjacent’ to dominant cultures and economic systems, how these – more or less – successfully resist assimilation, and the implications for rural sustainability and policy.

One focus is how ‘indigenous’ communities in rural Europe respond to the impact of globalisation and political economic restructuring, and the commoditisation of their ‘intangible cultural heritage’ by the tourist industry. Matthew argues that key to understanding such developments is the need to develop new, sophisticated ways of conceptualising relations with the past (historicity) and our experience of time (temporality). This research is linked to growing international interest in the anthropology of time and has led to publication in journals such as American Ethnologist and Anthropological Theory, informed by the work of Bergson, Deleuze and Hannah Arendt. Matthew was also a member of the core working group for the ESRC Seminar Series ‘Conflicts in Time: Rethinking Contemporary “Globalisation”’, based at the Department of Anthropology, LSE.

Matthew also works on the anthropology of science and technology, exploring the hidden infrastructures that shape rural societies. He conducted research with the ESRC Genomics Network on agricultural biotechnology development at French and Mexican research centres (ORSTOM, IRD and CIMMYT), within the secretive world of corporate ‘gene giants’ Syngenta and Pioneer Hi-Bred, and in the CGIAR system, dissecting corporate influence over public sector research for resource-poor farmers. This research is part of a wider interest in the impact of science and medicine on society.

Finally, Matthew has a background in literary writing and a longstanding interest in how anthropology can be communicated to diverse audiences. He was previously AHRC Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts at the acclaimed School of Creative Writing at UEA, where he worked on a public anthropology project, developing literary fiction from his fieldwork in France.

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • SE597: Theoretical Topics in Social Anthropology (convenor)
  • SE601: European Societies (convenor)
  • SE752: Anthropology of Creativity (convenor)

Postgraduate

  • SE805: Theory and Ethnography in Social Anthropology II (convenor)
  • SE808: Anthropology of Europe (convenor)
  • SE809: Anthropology of Creative Expression (convenor)

Previous teaching

  • SE307: Thinkers and Theories
  • SE534: Special Project in Social Anthropology
  • SE555: Project in Visual Anthropology – Photography Stream (convenor)
  • SE586: Ethnographies I
  • SE588: Advanced Social Anthropology I (convenor)
  • SE589: Advanced Social Anthropology II – Political Anthropology
  • SE591: Southern Mediterranean Societies (convenor)

Plus courses on anthropological methods; religion, morals and symbolic systems; STS and biotechnology; ethnographic film; philosophical and methodological issues in the social sciences; photography and the arts; creative writing.

Supervision

Dr Hodges welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in working on any area of Europe, and in particular, France, Euskadi, Spain and the UK. Contact him to discuss your plans.

He is happy to consider supervision of fieldwork in other regions, and multi-sited fieldwork, if your interests overlap with these themes: anthropology of history, memory, historical consciousness, heritage; time and temporality; modernity, social transformation, cultural rupture, crisis; tourism; science and technology (including ag-biotech, environmental themes); public anthropology; photography; anthropology and literature.

He is also interested in supervising cross-disciplinary research with DICE (see below).

Current PhD students

  • Michael Bonnington (co-supervised with Professor Dimitrios Theodossopoulos) (ESRC South-East DTC 1+3 Studentship): The Catalan Independence Movement
  • Christopher de Coulon-Berthoud (co-supervised with Professor João de Pina Cabral) (ESRC South-East DTC 1+3 Studentship): Collecting and Creating History in the Digital World: A study of local historical consciousness in the Medway Towns 
  • Abraham Heinemann (co-supervised with Dr Joseph Tzanopoulos (DICE)) (ESRC South-East DTC 1+3 Studentship): Hunting: a multidimensional in-depth comparative study 
  • Tony Knight (co-supervised with Dr Joseph Tzanopoulos (DICE)) (ESRC South-East DTC +3 Studentship): (Im)possible cohabitation: re-wilding and pastoralism in a contested French mountain ‘wilderness’ 
  • Oscar Kruger (co-supervised with Dr Miguel Alexiades and Dr Jonathan Mair) (Vice Chancellor's Research Scholarship): Making wine: towards an ecological anthropology of the good 
  • Jade Richards (co-supervised with Dr Jonathan Mair) (ESRC South-East DTC 1+3 Studentship): Hope, Temporality and Education in Mongolia 
  • Frederika Treeby (co-supervised with Professor Dimitrios Theodossopoulos): Isolation, social networks and belonging among ex-detainees of UK Migrant Removal Centres: a phenomenological approach  
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