We are delighted to announce that Dr. Madlen Kobi will join the Unit of Social Anthropology as Assistant Professor as of January 2022. Dr. Kobi is one of eighteen women scholars who were granted the prestigious PRIMA-Grant of the Swiss National Science Foundation. Her project “Urban Bricolage. Mining, Designing and Constructing with Reused Building Materials” explores the emerging circular economy of building materials in four European countries: Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands. The project enquires into the practical problems that scrap dealers, middlemen, architects, engineers, digital experts, company owners, and carpenters face when working with reused materials. Dr Kobi and her team will join the Unit for five years.
Madlen Kobi’s main research and teaching interests include architectural anthropology, infrastructure, urban political ecology, material culture and the anthropology of waste, with a regional focus on China. She obtained her PhD from the Institute of Social Anthropology of the University of Bern in 2014 and was a guest researcher at Xinjiang University in Ürümqi (China) and at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle. From 2015 to 2017, she held a position as postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Ethnographic Museum/Institute of Social Anthropology and Empirical Cultural Studies of the University of Zürich. From 2017 to 2021, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for the History and Theory of Art and Architecture, Academy of Architecture, Università della Svizzera Italiana.
Dr. Kobi is author of Constructing, Creating and Contesting Cityscapes: A Socio-Anthropological Approach to Urban Transformation in Southern Xinjiang, P.R. China (Harrassowitz, 2016) and coeditor of The Open Cut: Mining, Transnational Corporations, and Local Populations (LIT, 2016), The Urban Microclimate as Artifact: Towards an Architectural Theory of Thermal Diversity (Birkhäuser, 2018) and Architecture and/as Infrastructure (#4 Roadsides, 2020). Peer-reviewed articles have been published in The International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Social Anthropology, TSANTSA, Inner Asia, Eurasian Geography and Economics, ABE Journal – Architecture Beyond Europe and Central Asian Survey among others.