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Social Anthropology:


Alex Gapud

Alex Gapud
Alex Gapud
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44(0)7580 268376
Research Interests
Memory, identity, England, Post-imperialism, Materiality, Politics of Memory, Past-presencing, Historical consciousness, heritage, colonial aphasia, Silence, Metropolitan Postcolonial Memory

Biography and Research

Seeking to partake in and build up a wider literature on Metropolitan Postcolonial Memory, I am a PhD candidate working on post-imperial English identity and in particular, 'colonial memory' referring to what is remembered and forgotten of the imperial past in England (specifically England, as opposed to Britain at large), as well as the ways in which imperialism still implicitly haunts the present in contemporary England.  Especially prominent within the data are themes of silence as well as temporal and spatial techniques of displacement within historical and heritage narratives with echo what Ann Stoler terms 'colonial aphasia.'

In autumn 2015, I returned from 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Bristol, England (2014-2015) which focuses on materiality, heritage, and memorials in the memoryscape of Bristol as an English city which was largely built upon colonial trades including the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  Methodologically, this involved ethnographic engagements with a variety of heritage and local history projects, investigating processes of constructing, (re)producing, and interpreting historical narratives in the present.

Broadly, this involves a very general understanding of the city's past and its history and how we come to know it, although I am specifically (but not only) interested in Bristol's imperial connections, continuities, legacies, and how we know and understand these aspects of history today.  That said, although I have an interest in the history of Bristol, I am not a historian, but rather, someone interested in how the public remembers the past today (an anthropologist of memory).  In order to gain this understanding, I look at various people and communities throughout Bristol to understand the varying perspectives and attitudes towards Bristol's history and its imperial links.  This includes people from a host of different backgrounds across ethnicity, class, and generations.

I am also a Postgraduate Class Representative for my (post-field) research cohort and also had the honour of serving as Guest Chair for the Postgraduate Forum, Graduate School of Political and Social Science, as well as the University Challenge Captain for Edinburgh University, both in 2014.

In April 2016, I had the honour of being shortlisted as a finalist for the EUSA (Edinburgh University Students Association) Teaching Award for 'Best Postgraduate Student who Tutors' among all student tutors at the University of Edinburgh for the 2015/16 academic year. Over two years of teaching, I have received over 40 award nominations from my current and former students.


Under Review:

  • Imperial Silences of Circumscription: "Remembering" the British Empire and the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Bristol.' In 'Europe and its Silences,' a special issue of Anthropological Quarterly: Social Thought and Commentary, edited by Andrea Muehlebach and Stavroula Pipyrou

Conference Papers:

  • 'Visible and Invisible Memories: The Case of Edward Colston in Bristol, England' at GAPSYM8 - The 8th Symposium of the Ghent Africa Platform - 'Colonial Memories at Present: Decolonising Belgium?' hosted by the University of Ghent. November 2014
  • 'Tobacco Memories in Bristol' at the 2015 Conference of Association of Social Anthropologists (ASA15), Panel 32: Anthropology and Heritage Studies, University of Exeter, April 2015.
  • ‘The Silence of the British Empire in Present Day Bristol: Imperial Silences of Circumscription’ at the 2016 Conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists (ASA16), Panel 21: Europe and its Silences, University of Durham, Forthcoming, July 2016
  • 'The Materiality of Edward Colston's Ghost' at AHM Amsterdam 2017: Materialities of Post-Colonial Memory, University of Amsterdam, December 2017 (forthcoming)

Teaching Experience:

  • Runner-up (University-wide) for the EUSA (Edinburgh University Students' Association) Teaching Award for 'Best Postgraduate Student who Tutors' for 2015/16, 40 teaching award nominations to date overall
  • The Invention of History (Guest Lecturer and Guest Tutor, Spring 2016)
  • Ethnography: Theory and Practice (Guest Lecturer and Tutor, Spring 2017)
  • Empires (Tutor, Autumn 2016, 2017)
  • Social Anthropology 1A: The Life Course (Tutor, Autumn 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • Social Anthropology 1B: Anthropology Matters (Tutor, Spring 2016, 2017)

Awards and Scholarships:

  • Social Anthropology Special Award and Scholarship (The University of Edinburgh), 2014

Academic Qualifications:

  • PhD Social Anthropology, The University of Edinburgh (2013-ongoing)
  • MSc Social Anthropology with Distinction, The University of Edinburgh (2011-2012)
  • MTh Practical Theology and Christian Ethics with Commendation, The University of Aberdeen (2010-2011)
  • BA International Affairs (Cum Laude), The University of Georgia (2003-2006)

Media Appearances:

Television and Video

  • University Challenge: Class of 2014
    • Two-part series about trying out for University Challenge, aired on BBC2, July 2014
  • What I Wish I'd Known When I Started Teaching


  • Education Matters
    • A weekly radio show on local matters of education in Bristol, aired on Ujima Radio 98.7, August 2015

Other Projects and Blogs:

PhD Supervisors:

Joost Fontein

John Harries

Richard Baxstrom