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 Low Earth orbit
  • The anthropology of Outer Space
  • 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 the material culture of Low Earth Orbit, architecture, domesticity, the archaeology of the recent past, and critical understandings of materiality and new technologies. Currently he is Principal Investigator of the 5 year European Research Council funded research project: ETHNO-ISS: An Ethnography of an Extraterrestrial Society: the International Space Station (ERC Advanced Grant, no. 833135) and is one of the theme leaders of the ESA_lab@UCL.

He has also taught on the UCL Urban Studies MSc and supervised on the Mphil/PhD programmes of the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Slade School of Art and serves on the Steering Committee of the Victoria and Albert Research Institute (VARI). Previously 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. Earlier he 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. Victor is also co-founding and co-managing editor of the Home book series (Bloomsbury). He sits on the editorial boards of Home Cultures, Social Anthropology, 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

  • Jo Aiken (Anthropology)
  • Patrick Edgley (Anthropology)

Previous Phd Student

  • Anna Hoare (Anthropology)
  • Saffron Woodcraft (Anthropology)
  • Michael Shea (Anthropology)
  • Alessandro Zambelli (Bartlett)
  • David Jeevendrampillai (Adaptable Suburbs)
  • Gabrielle Ackroyd (Anthropology)
  • Polly Gould (Bartlett)
  • Florian Roithmyr (The Slade)
  • Nikolay Nikolov (SSEES)
  • Nicolette Mackovicky, (Anthropology)
  • Dimitris Dalakaglou, (Anthropology)
  • Mikkel Bille, (Anthropology)
  • Layla Renshaw, (Anthropology)
  • Fiona Parrott, (Anthropology)
  • Jane Dickson, (Anthropology)
  • Alesya Krit, (Anthropology)