About this Fellow
Michael has been guided throughout by the frisson of discovering how different, yet entirely rational, other people's perspectives and moralities can be. He was first able to explore these matters at length during fieldwork with Buddhist forest monks in Sri Lanka, and later in trying to understand the deep history of Buddhism and the Buddha himself. He then met more extreme practices and rationalities while working with Digambar Jain and Digambar ascetics in India. More recently Michael has studied the senses of justice that different Germans have applied to a common and difficult past, both that of the former German Democratic Republic and that of the Nazi dictatorship. Michael has also turned to questioning the evolutionary heritage which enables the production of such differing and mutually contradictory forms of life across human history. And he has taken as objects of study even anthropology and allied social sciences themselves, for these too are cultural performances embodying distinctive reasons and practices which are needful of explication. Since 2002 Michael has been participating in the international Rhetoric Culture Project, which seeks to illuminate how people use their cultural repertoires to create versions of reality.
- Professor of Anthropology, Durham University
The anthropology of material aesthetics, mathematics and memory; The nature of innovation and the cognitive work of images, taking insights from ethnographic research in Oceania to the laboratory context of materials science
Urban and Cultural Geography, built environment heritage, architecture and society, history of high-rise housing; indigenous land rights and cultural property, Aboriginal and settler relations, post-colonialism
Quantitative social science methodology; geography of health; social geography