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.
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.
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.
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