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Department of Social Anthropology


Timothy Cooper earned his PhD at the Department of Anthropology, University College London, based upon ethnographic research both among traders on a vast and diverse electronics marketplace and among producers of religious media in the Pakistani city of Lahore. His postdoctoral research at the Department of Social Anthropology at Cambridge builds on this work to explore how individuals and collectives understand the difficult relationship between technology, piety, and public affect. As part of his present position, he is conducting research into the circulation of devotional recordings among the minority Shi’a Muslim community in Pakistani Punjab in order to understand the ways in which atmospheric states of ethical attunement relate to changing interfaces for communal worship. To date, he has documented this research in an emerging body of published work, as well as through the production of four ethnographic films and a long-running monthly radio series, public impact events, and curatorial projects.


Key publications: 


Peer-reviewed publications and Book Chapters

2021 (Forthcoming) “3D Ziyarat : Lenticularity and technologies of the moving image in material and visual piety.” Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief 17 (5).

2020. "The Kaččā and the Pakkā: Disenchanting the Film Event in Pakistan." Comparative Studies in Society and History (62.2): 262-295.

2020. Chapter: “The Circulatory Dynamics of Pakistani Film”, in Film and Cinephilia in Pakistan: Beyond Life and Death.. Ali Nobil Ahmad and Ali Khan eds. (London & Karachi: Oxford University Press): 211-229.

2018. “Cinema Itself: Cinephobia, Filmic Anxieties, and Ontologies of the Moving Image in Pakistan.” Visual Anthropology, (31, 3). 253-267.

2017. “Raddi Infrastructure: Collecting Film Memorabilia in Pakistan: An Interview with Guddu Khan of Guddu’s Film Archive.” In BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, (7, 2): 151–171.

2015. “Migratory Surfaces: An Informal Visual Economy and the Repair of the Colonial Archive” in AfterImage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism, (42, 4): 8-15.

2015. Chapter: “‘The Black Market Archive: The Velocity, Intensity, and Spread of Pakistani Film Piracy” in Archival Dissonance: Contemporary Visual Culture and Knowledge Production in the Middle East, Anthony Downey ed, (London: I.B Tauris): 401-418.

Selected Journalism/Essays

2018, “Sacred Hunger: The Cinema of Jamil Dehlavi” Sight and Sound Magazine

2016, “Diverse Documents: Surrealism, Anthropology, and Michel Leiris,” FriezeMasters.

2016, “From the Ground Up: 3D Printing and Destroyed Artifacts,” Frieze Magazine.

2016, "The Circulatory Dynamics of Pirate Cinema", Rhizome (New Museum, NY). 

2016. “Capacious Tapes: Audiocassettes as Intangible Cultural Heritage.” ArtPapers

2015. “Welcome to Containerstan: how the shipping container took over the world”, NewStatesman.

2015. “On Informality and Nomadism.” ArtPapers “Islands” Issue

2015. “The Visual Archive of Devotion and Taboo.” Rhizome (New Museum, NY)

2014. “Destruction Ceremonies as 21st Century Book Burning.” Rhizome (New  Museum, NY). 

Contact Details

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