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Victor Buchli

victor buchli image

Tel:  +44 (0)20 7679 8638

Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 8632


Room: 226

PhD, Archaeology
Cambridge University, 1996

Reader in Material Culture



General Interests

  • The material culture of socialism and post-socialism
  • Modernist architecture and Urbanism in Russia and Kazakhstan
  • The archaeology of the recent past
  • Theoretical understandings of material culture and materiality
  • Ethnography of new materials and new technologies

Current Research

Victor is Reader in Material Culture within the Material Culture Group at UCL and works on architecture, domesticity, the archaeology of the recent past, critical understandings of materiality and new technologies and the anthropology of sustainability and design. He also teaches on the UCL Urban Studies MSc and supervises on the Mphil/PhD programme at the Bartlett and the Slade and serves on the Board of the Victoria and Albert/Royal College of Art MA History of Design Programme. He has conducted fieldwork in Russia, Britain and Kazakhstan. His latest book An Archaeology of the Immaterial (Routledge 2014)  examines questions surrounding immateriality particularly the significance of material cultures that paradoxically attempt to deny their own physicality. In addition, his  An Anthropology of Architecture (Bloomsbury 2013) examines the materiality of built forms from an anthropological perspective. At present he is starting new research in new materials and new technologies examining the rise of rapid manufacturing or 3-D printing.  This research was part of a co-organised ESRC funded intiative entitled New Materials, New Technologies with Susanne Kuechler and Graeme Were in UCL Anthropology and Materials Sciences at Kings College London.  This work is part of a wider collaboration with the Royal College of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum on the interdisciplinary study of  Materials.   In addition he has just completed work as a member of the interdisciplinary Templeton Scholars Group on the origins of domesticity at the Neolithic site of Çatal Höyük in Turkey where he is examining long term culture change and processes of material iteration and innovation as they relate to the domestic sphere. Currently, Victor is Co-Investigator of the Adaptable Suburbs Project funded by the EPSRC with Laura Vaughan (Bartlett) and Muki Haklay (Geomatic Engineering).  This is an interdisciplinary project investigating the sustainability of economic and social life in the London surburbs in the present and over time.

Victor’s previous books include An Archaeology of Socialism (Berg 1999) – an ethno-historical study of a constructivist housing block in Moscow, Archaeologies of the Contemporary Past (Routledge 2001) with Gavin Lucas an examination of the critical issues which arise when the archaeological method is applied to the study of contemporary material culture, and Interpreting Archaeology(Routledge 1995) co-edited with Ian Hodder et. al..  He has also edited The Material Culture Reader (Berg 2002), the five volume Material Culture: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences for the Major Works Series, Routledge Publishers (2004) and with C. Alexander and C. Humphrey,  Urban life in  Post Soviet Asia (Routledge 2007). Victor has been managing editor of the Journal of Material Culture, and is founding and managing editor of Home Cultures with Bloomsbury Publishing – an interdisciplinary journal for the critical study of the domestic sphere. Submissions are being actively sought and any inquiries can be directed to He sits on the editorial boards of The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Home Cultures, the Journal of Material Culture and the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology.

Reviews of his published works have appeared in: British Archaeological Magazine, New Scientist, Cambridge Archaeological Journal, The Russian Review, Journal of Design History, Slavonica, Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, American Ethnologist, The Australian Journal of Anthropology, Journal of Contemporary History, Kultura i Istoria, Journal of European Area Studies, Archaeology.About.Com, Slavonic and East European Review, Slavic Review, American Anthropologist, Archaeological Journal, Journal of Anthropological Research, Journal of Consumer Culture, The Asia Pacific Journal of Archaeology, Journal of Educational Media, Reviews in Anthropology, American Anthropologist, Journal of Design History.

Current PhD Students

  • Anna Hoare
  • Alesya Krit
  • Saffron Woodcraft
  • Pwyll ab Stiffin
  • Vita Peacock
  • Michael Shea
  • Jane Dickson
  • Clare Venebles
  • Alessandro Zambelli (Bartlett)
  • David Jeevendrampillai (Adaptable Suburbs)
  • Ruthie Carlisle (Adaptable Suburbs)
  • Gabrielle Ackroyd
  • Polly Gould (Bartlett)
  • Camila Sotomayor (Bartlett)
  • Wesley Aelbrecht (Bartlett)

Previous Phd Students

  • Nicolette Mackovicky, Lecturer, Oxford University
  • Dimitris Dalakaglou, Lecturer, Sussex University
  • Mikkel Bille, Assistant Professor, University of Copenhagen
  • Layla Renshaw, Senior Lecturer, Kingston University, London
  • Fiona Parrott,  Lecturer, University of Amsterdam

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UCL Anthropology, 14 Taviton Street, London, WC1H 0BW Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 8633