Assistant Professor
Political and Economic Anthropology

Mateusz Laszczkowski received his doctorate in Social Anthropology from Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg (Germany). In 2007-2012, he worked at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, before joining the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University in Warsaw in 2013. He is the author of 'City of the Future': Built Space, Modernity and Urban Change in Astana (Berghahn Books, 2016) as well as articles in journals including the Journal of the Royal Anthropological InstituteSocial AnalysisCity & Society and Focaal. He is also the co-editor (with Madeleine Reeves) of Affective States: Entanglements, Suspensions, Suspicions (Berghahn Books 2017). His recent work on infrastructural conflict and the No TAV movement in Italy is illustrated by the documentary film The Site: Building Resistance. In 2018 Mateusz Laszczkowski joined the Editorial Board of The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology.

Area of interest

political anthropology; the anthropology of the state; place and space; infrastructure and the built environment; resistance; protest movements; anarchism; affect theory

Selected publications


2017            Affective States: Entanglements, Suspensions, Suspicions, co-edited with Madeleine Reeves, New
York: Berghahn Books.

2016            ‘City of the Future’: Built Space, Modernity and Urban Change in Astana, New York: Berghahn.


Journal articles:

2015       ‘“Demo-Version of a City”: Buildings, Affects, and the State in Astana’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 22(1): 148-165. doi: 10.1111/1467-9655.12338

2015       ‘Introduction: Affective States—Entanglements, Suspensions, Suspicions’, co-authored with Madeleine Reeves, Social Analysis 59(4): 1-14.

2015       ‘Scraps, Neighbors, and Committees: Material Things, Place-Making, and the State in an Astana Apartment Block’, City & Society 27(2): 136-159.

2015       ‘Budowanie państwa: stolica Kazachstanu i państwo jako konstrukt materialny’ [Building the state: the capital city of Kazakhstan and the state as a material construct], Lud 99: 43-64.

2011      ‘Building the future: Construction, temporality, and politics in Astana.’ Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology, 60: 77-92.

2011      ‘Construire l'avenir: matérialité, imagerie et politique à Astana.’ Terrain: revue d’ethnologie de l’Europe, 57: 129-143.

2011      ‘Superplace: Global Connections and Local Politics at the Mega Mall, Astana.’ Etnofoor, 23 (1): 85-104.

2007      ‘Gdy zmarli odwiedzają Pierwomajsk... Obrzędowość zaduszna w społeczności lokalnej.’ [When the dead visit Pervomaysk: All-Souls rituals in a local community] Etnografia Polska, LI, 1-2: 215-234.


Edited special issues:

2015:          ‘Affective States: Entanglements, Suspensions, Suspicions’, co-edited with Dr Madeleine Reeves, Social Analysis 59(4).


Book chapters:

2016            ‘Shrek Meets the President: Magical Authoritarianism in a "Fairy-Tale" City.’ In: M. Laruelle (ed.), Kazakhstan in the Making: Legitimacy, Symbols, and Social Changes. Lanham: Lexington. Pp. 63-88.

2014      ‘State Building(s): Built Forms, Materiality, and the State in Astana.’ In: J. Beyer, J. Rasanayagam, M. Reeves (eds), Ethnographies of the State in Central Asia: Performing Politics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Pp. 149-172.

2010      ‘“Wszyscy jesteśmy muzułmanami – Azerbejdżańcami”: Religijny nacjonalizm w post-Sowieckim Azerbejdżanie’ [‘We are all Muslim Azerbaijanis’: Religious nationalism in post-Soviet Azerbaijan] In: Maciej Ząbek (ed.), Dylematy kaukaskie. Problemy narodowościowe i migracyjne [Caucasian dilemmas: Problems of nationalities and migration]. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo DiG. Pp. 203-218.


Documentary films:


2015       The Site: Building Resistance, 57’.

Research projects

‘Locality, Space, and the State in an Alpine Valley: Local Community and the High-Speed Railway project (TAV) in Val di Susa’, research grant from the National Science Centre (Narodowe Centrum Nauki), Poland. Grant number 2013/08/S/HS3/00277.

Conferences and visiting lectures

2017    ‘Tracks of Contention: Reconfiguring the Political through Anti-High Speed Rail Protest in
Italy’, Shifting States, Australian Anthropological Society / Association of Social
Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth / Association of Social Anthropologists of
Aotearoa New Zealand, The University of Adelaide, Australia, 11-15/12.

2017    ‘“Aren’t You Afraid to Come Here with Us?’ – Vulnerability, Resistance and Affect in an
Ethnography of Direct Action’. International conference ‘How Do Vulnerabilities Matter?’,
University of Helsinki, Finland, 30/11-1/12.

2017    ‘“Ride Your Bike against the Wind”: The No TAV Movement in Val di Susa’. 10th Conference of the Institute of Sociology of the University of Zielona Góra and the Sociology Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Łagów, Poland, 20-22 September.

2017    Presentation of the monograph ‘City of the Future’. The Future of Central Asian Studies, University of Konstanz, Germany, 12-13 September.

2017    ‘Deadly Stuff: Pathogens and Politics in Transalpine Railway Construction in Italy’. 12th International Ethnography Symposium, University of Manchester, 30 August – 1 September.

2017    Screening of The Site: Building Resistance. Everyday Revolutions in Eastern and Southern Europe, University of Manchester & Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, UK, 19-20 May.

2016     'Valsusa Has No Fear: Rethinking Resistance Through and As Affect'. Resistance: Between Theories and the Field. Université Libre the Bruxelles, Belgium. 14-15 December.

2016      Screening of The Site: Building Resistance. Political Imaginations Laboratory: Visualizing and Contextualizing Ethnographies of Social Movements, University of Perugia, Italy, 14-16 October.

2016      ‘Derailed: The contentious politics of Italian high-speed rail’. European Association of Social Anthropologists, 14th Biennial Conference, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy, 20-23 July.

2016      ‘Ël mé cheur a l’é No TAV: transindividual affects and social movement politics beyond the subjective’. Association of Social Anthropologists of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, conference ‘ASA16: Footprints and futures: the time of anthropology’, Durham University, Durham, UK, 4-7 July.

2016      ‘The No TAV Animal: Animal Politics in a Contemporary Social Movement.’ Critical Studies Research Group 5th International Conference, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK, 13-14 June.

2016      ‘What Spaces for Political Anthropology?’ Moderation of the roundtable with Prof. Michał Buchowski (Adam Mickeiwicz Univeristy), Prof. Penny Harvey (University of Manchester), Dr Yael Navaro (University of Cambridge), and Prof. Jonathan Spencer (University of Edinburgh). Conference ‘Spaces of the Political’, University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland, 10-11 June.

2016      ‘Zillion (Im)Possible Cities: Urban Space and the Game “Encounter” in Astana.’ Central Eurasian Studies Society, 5th Regional Conference, Kazan, Russia, 2-4 June.

2016      ‘The Will of the Mountain: An Alpine Environment as a Subject in Conflict.’ Undisciplined Environments: International Conference of the European Network of Political Ecology, Stockholm, Sweden, 20-24 March.2015 ‘Unexpected Connections: Ethnographic Notes on How Worlds Are Made, with Focus on Astana, Thoughts on the Expo, and Certain Other, Surprisingly Related Things’, Symposium ‘City Portraits: Astana’, IUAV University, Venice, Italy, 22 October.

2015 ‘Wolna Republika Valsusa: społeczność lokalna i anarchiczne formy organizacji w alpejskiej dolinie.’ [The Free Republic of Valsusa: local community and anarchic forms of organization in an Alpine valley] Kulturotwórcza rola anarchizmu [The culture-making role of anarchism], The Poznań Society of Friends of the Sciences, Poznań, Poland, 16 November.

2015 ‘The Forest of Affects: Encountering Police, Empowering Place in Val di Susa.’ Enacting Modalities of Feeling: Anthropological Explorations into Affective, Sensual, and Material Connections, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, 25-27 February.

2014 ‘The Pulverous State: Particulate Matter, Vernacular Biopolitics, and Oppressive Humanism in the Susa Valley.’ American Anthropological Association, 113th Annual Meeting, Washington DC, USA, 3-7 December.

2014 ‘Building the Future: Public Construction Projects in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan and the European Union.’ European Association of Social Anthropologists, 13th Biennial Conference, Tallinn University, Estonia, 31 July – 3 August.

2014 ‘Astana: Between Hegemony and Mundane Place-Making.’ Kazakhstan beyond Economic Success: Exploring Social and Cultural Changes in Eurasia, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, 13-14 June.

2013 ‘Budowanie państwa: boom budowlany w Astanie i performatywność państwa.’ [Building the state: construction boom and state performativity in Astana] Kongres Antropologiczny [Anthropological Congress], Polish Institute of Anthropology, Warsaw, Poland, 23-25 October.

2013 ‘Shrek Meets the President: Magical Authoritarianism in a Fairy-tale City.’ Constructing Authority through Custom and Tradition, American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 27-28 September.

2013 ‘Shifting Spaces: The Changing Forms, Uses and Meanings of Public Space in Astana.’ 5th International Urban Geographies of Post-Communist States Conference, Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi, Georgia, 11-13 September.

2013 ‘Material Interfaces: Built Space, Surfaces, and the Formation of the Social in Astana.’ The Steppe and the Sown, European Society for Central Asian Studies, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan, 4-7 August.

2013 ‘Shrek Meets the President: Aesthetics and Popular Authoritarianism in Kazakhstan.’ Annual Soyuz Symposium, Columbia University, New York, USA, 22-23 March.

2012 ‘Playing with the City: Injecting the Surreal in Urban Space (in Astana).’ European Association of Social Anthropologists, 12th Biennial Conference, Paris-Nanterre, France, 10-13 July.

2012 ‘Imperfect Magnificence: Matter, Irony, and the State in Astana.’ Affective States: Exploring Emotion in Political Life, University of Manchester, UK, 17-18 May.

2012 ‘Spirits in the Elevator and Peasant Poltergeists: Post-Soviet Urbanites between a Rural Past and a Rural Future?’, The Dialogue of Turkic Peoples’ Cultures: History and Modernity, National Academic Library, Astana, Kazakhstan, 3-6 May.

2012 ‘Built Space and Social Change in Astana.’ Scientific Advisory Board Meeting, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany, 25-27 April.

2012 ‘The Hands that Smell of Bread: Built Space, Nostalgia, and the Afterlife of a Khrushchevite Development Campaign.’ Annual Soyuz Symposium, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, 23-24 March.

2011 ‘Imperfect Magnificence: Matter, Irony, and the State in Astana.’ American Anthropological Association, 110th Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada, 16-20 November.

2011 ‘Spirits in the Elevator and Peasant Poltergeists: Post-Soviet Urbanites between Rural Past and Rural Future?’ Association for the Study of Nationalities, Twenty Years Later (1991-2011): The Reshaping of Space and Identity, Moscow, Russia, 29 September - 1 October.

2011 ‘Shrek Meets the President: Aesthetics and Power in Kazakhstan.’ European Society for Central Asian Studies, XII Biennial Conference, Cambridge University, UK, 20-22 September.

2010 ‘On a Not-So-Clean Slate: Materiality, Imagination, and the Politics of the Future in Astana.’ Central Eurasian Studies Society, 11th Annual Conference, East Lansing, MI, USA, 28-31 October.

2010 ‘Other Times: Multiple Temporalities in the Development of Astana.’ Temporal Relations and Change Conference, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK, 9 November.

2010 ‘Materializing the Future: Politics of the Future and the Construction of Astana.’ European Association of Social Anthropologists, 11th Biennial Conference, Maynooth, Ireland, 24-27 August.

2010 ‘Building the Future: Materiality, Temporality, and Politics in Astana.’ Emerging Social Structures and New Anthropologies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 1-3 July.

2010 ‘Where Shrek Meets the President: The aestheticization of politics in Astana.’ Association for the Study of Nationalities, 15th Annual World Convention, New York, USA, 15-17 April.

Awards and Scholarships

Clio Prize for ‘City of the Future’: Built Space, Modernity and Urban Change in
, University of Warsaw, December 2017

Wayne Vucinich Visiting Research Fellowship, Centre for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Stanford University, USA, April-June 2013.


Best Doctoral Student Paper, Association for the Study of Nationalities, 15th Annual World Convention, New York, USA, April 2010.

Member of scientific organizations

- European Association of Social Anthropologists
- Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth
- Centre for Anthropological Studies of Central Asia, Halle-Zürich
- Central Eurasian Studies Society



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