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Department of Social Anthropology



Joe Ellis is an Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology and the Sigrid Rausing Postdoctoral Fellow in the Mongolian and Inner Asian Studies Unit.

Joe taught anthropology and social theory extensively prior to, during and after his PhD and has since held numerous academic, director of studies and teaching positions in the collegiate university.


My research is founded upon long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Mongolia, particularly in the ger districts of Ulaanbaatar and the more remote Khovd province in the far west of the country. The overarching theme of my research interests is the manner in which cosmological, political and moral concepts come to impinge upon social life in Mongolia. This has led me to work on a range of topics, including: the dynamics of violence, shamanism, and alcoholism within intimate relations; the role of mythic-historical exemplars in generating ideas of ‘ethnic’ difference; the impact of religious practices on the economic sphere; the cultivation of gendered mobilities within kinship ideologies; practices of deception and spheres of complicity; and the political salience of perceptions of environmental change.

Teaching and Supervisions


Undergraduate Teaching


SAN1 – Social Anthropology: The comparative perspective (Witchcraft as Politics)

SAN3 – Anthropological theory and methods (Marxism, Material Culture, Ontological Turn)

SAN4 - The anthropology of an ethnographic area (Religious Revivals, Gender & Kinship in Inner Asia)

SAN6 - Power, economy and social transformation (Cosmological Transformations)

SAN9 – Science and environment (Moral environments)

A4 – Being Human: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Symbolism, Department of Archaeology)



Supervision of all SAN papers and dissertation


Postgraduate Teaching

MPhil Paper 2 - Systems of knowledge and power (Anthropology of Religion)

MPhil Paper 4 - Theory, methods and enquiry in Social Anthropology (Modes of enquiry)

MPhil Dissertation workshop


Affiliated Lecturer, Department of Social Anthropology
Sigrid Rausing Postdoctoral Fellow, MIASU
Fellow & Director of Studies, St. Catharine’s College
Director of Studies, Gonville & Caius College, & Hughes Hall
Dr Joe  Ellis

Contact Details

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