UCL Anthropology


Dr Nicholas Lackenby

Research Fellow in the Material Ecology and Sociopolitics of Religion

Dept of Anthropology

Faculty of S&HS

Joined UCL
19th Oct 2020

Research summary

My research brings together the anthropology of religion/morality with the anthropology of ethnicity/nationalism. Through an ethnographic focus on the former Yugoslavia, I ask how collective identity can function as a moral framework within which people cultivate themselves as persons, and through which they make claims about the world.

My doctoral project at Cambridge explored the revitalisation of Serbian Orthodox Christianity. Specifically, my fieldwork focused on a demographically-diverse range of people in and around the town of Kraljevo and their efforts to ‘live liturgically’ as Orthodox Christian ‘believers’. I studied practices of fasting, commemoration, and collective worship, as well as discourses surrounding national history, repentance, and suffering. 

Research interests: 

- Nationalism and ethnic belonging

- Peoplehood and personhood

- Temporality and historical consciousness

The anthropology of Orthodox Christianity

- Postsocialism

Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Balkans, Serbia


University of Cambridge
Doctorate, Social Anthropology | 2020


Before Cambridge, I completed an MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology here at UCL. For this, I conducted fieldwork in Russia’s Leningrad Oblast, exploring issues of religious knowledge and education in post-Soviet Russian Orthodoxy. 

I am currently a postdoc on a new project - Orthodox Christian Material Ecology and the Sociopolitics of Religion - funded by the UKRI, and based at UCL Anthropology. See: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/anthropology/research/orthodox-christian-material-ecology-and-sociopolitics-religion