Our approach to the study of British cultures is defined by three pillars: it is deeply comparative and multidisciplinary, drawing on anthropology, law, political economy, and sociology, amongst other disciplines. It is also ethnographic and empirically grounded. And finally, it is decolonial and publicly engaged, committed to produce not only scholarly excellence but radical knowledge that helps dismantle structures of hierarchy and power.


Prof. Dr. Insa Koch is Chair of British Cultures at the SHSS, University of Sankt Gallen, and Visiting Professor in Law and Anthropology at the London School of Economics (LSE). Trained at the LSE and the University of Oxford as both an anthropologist and a lawyer, she has published in leading journals in sociology, law and anthropology on issues of the state, the democratic crisis, and questions of class, gender, and race in Britain. Her monograph Personalizing the State (OUP, Oxford) is an ethnographic study of class and state-citizen relations at the margins of Britain. She is currently completing her second monograph, Making Slaves and their Masters, which offers an ethnographic account of Britain’s discovery of ‘modern slavery’ against the backdrop of Britain’s still often unacknowledged legacies of empire and slavery. For a full list of Insa’s publications, please visit her page.

Selena Gray is Phd student at the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics (LSE). She is currently finishing her Phd which examines girls’ views of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). Her research interests include: feminist theory, girlhood studies, consumer culture and CSE.

Dr. Thomas Herzmark is anthropologist working at the intersection of economic, political, and legal anthropology, with a regional focus on South Asia, and the UK. He trained in anthropology at SOAS, and at the University of Hyderabad, before completing his PhD at LSE, which analysed the family dynamics of state welfare implemention, livelihood transitions, and cultural objectification, within an adivasi community in South India. Currently, Thomas is lecturing at Brunel University London and developing teaching resources for the engaged ethnography of contemporary Britain, and preparing publications on affirmative action, the politics of recognition, and on decolonizing strands of adivasi cultural heritage.

Prof. Dr. Rita Kesselring is an anthropologist and Associate Professor of Urban Studies at the SHSS, University of St Gallen. Her research focus are global interdependencies and the opportunities for civil society action with a regional focus on Southern Africa (primarily Zambia and South Africa) and Switzerland. Her monograph Bodies of Truth (SUP, 2017) examines the long-term effects of apartheid violence on elderly women and the legal steps taken by apartheid victims in US courts against multinational companies for aiding and abetting the apartheid regime. Her current book project is about urban development in new mining towns in Zambia and the Swiss commodity trading hub. Kesselring also leads a project on international adoptions from India and Sri Lanka into Switzerland (specifically the cantons of Thurgau and Zurich) between 1973 and 2002.

Dr. Victoria Klinkert is an anthropologist interested in decolonial theory, critical whiteness studies and abolitionisms. She has just completed her PhD at SOAS, in which she conducted an ethnography on white ignorance within an elite university in the UK as well as within British anthropology itself. She has published on her research, as well as on decolonising ethnographies (with Prof Raminder Kaur) in HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, and Darkmatter in addition to addressing the topic of decolonising anthropology more broadly (with Zouhair Hammana and the River and Fire Collective) in Teaching Anthropology.  

Dr. Martha McCurdy is a postdoctoral researcher at the Chair of British Cultures. Her PhD from the Sociology Department at the London School of Economics (LSE) examined the (in)visible discourses and fatalities related to Britain’s immigration system and everyday borders. Alongside her own ethnographic research, she has also conducted extensive research on video courts. Her research interests relate to questions of citizenship, borders, migration, and the law, as well as qualitative research methods. She is currently exploring the intersection of modern slavery and immigration.

Dr. Antje Scharenberg is a social movement scholar whose research focusses on transnational social movements in Europe and the UK. In her ethnographic ESRC-funded PhD research at Goldsmiths, University of London, Antje explored the question of agency beyond borders in alter-European activist networks in times of Brexit. In her current position as International Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of St. Gallen, Antje investigates ocean activism and what it means to act politically in the international territory of the sea, with a particular focus on civil sea rescue in the Mediterranean and marine environmental activism the European Atlantic. Since 2020, Antje has also been studying civil society resistance against algorithmic decision making in Europe as part of The Human Error Project.