UCL Anthropology


Victor Buchli

victor buchli image

Tel:  +44 (0)20 7679 8638

Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 8632

E-mail: v.buchli@ucl.ac.uk

Room: 226

PhD, Archaeology
Cambridge University, 1996

Professor of 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 Professor of Material Culture within the Material Culture Group at UCL and works on architecture, domesticity, the archaeology of the recent past, and critical understandings of materiality and new technologies. 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 as well as on the Steering Committee of the Victoria and Albert Research Institute (VARI).  He has conducted fieldwork in Russia, Britain and Kazakhstan. His latest book An Archaeology of the Immaterial (Routledge 2015)  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 critically reappraising them from both an architectural and 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.   He has also 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 examined long term culture change and processes of material iteration and innovation as they relate to the domestic sphere. More recently Victor has completed his work as Co-Investigator of the Adaptable Suburbs Project funded by the EPSRC with Laura Vaughan (Bartlett) and Muki Haklay (Geomatic Engineering).  This was an interdisciplinary project investigating the sustainability of economic and social life in the London suburbs 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 for Routledge Publishers - an interdisciplinary journal for the critical study of the domestic sphere. Submissions are being actively sought and any inquiries can be directed to homecultures@ucl.ac.uk. Victor is also co-founding and co-managing editor of the Home book series (Bloomsbury). 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, 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, Anthropology Review Database, LSE Review of Books, The Journal of Space Syntax, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Urbanities

Current PhD Students

  • Anna Hoare
  • Saffron Woodcraft
  • Michael Shea
  • Alessandro Zambelli (Bartlett)
  • David Jeevendrampillai (Adaptable Suburbs)
  • Gabrielle Ackroyd
  • Polly Gould (Bartlett)
  • Camila Sotomayor (Bartlett)
  • Wesley Aelbrecht (Bartlett)
  • Florian Roithmyr (The Slade)
    Nikolay Nikolov
    Aeron O'Conner

    Jo Aiken

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
  • Jane Dickson, Research Officer, London School of Economics
  • Alesya Krit, Postdoctoral Researcher at Justus-Liebig University, Giessen