De Maaker, Dr. E. (Erik)

  • Assistant Professor
  • Anthropology and Sociology of South Asia
  • Anthropology of Religion
  • Material Culture
  • Visual Anthropology
  • Qualitative Analysis

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 6612
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen, Instituut CA/Ontwikkelingssociologie
Office Address: Pieter de la Court gebouw
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 3A35
Personal Homepage:​ErikdeMaaker

Erik de Maaker studied at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where he obtained his first degree in Cultural Anthropology in 1993. He obtained his PhD degree from the University of Leiden in 2006, on a thesis entitled “Negotiating Life: Garo Death Rituals and the Transformation of Society”. From 2006 onwards he has been employed as Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at the University of Leiden.

CV E. de Maaker


In my research I have specialized on South Asia, notably on the upland communities of its eastern borderlands. I am working on the transformation of notions of relatedness and belonging. Methodologically, the material and performative dimensions of culture are central to my research. This includes the redefinition and re-appreciation of ‘traditional’ cultural ideas and practices (‘heritage’), and their growing importance in terms of ethnicity, indigeneity and nationalism.

More recently, my research has extended to people’s understanding of land, and the environment, and how access and use is contested between distinct claim holders such as local communities and the state. Research in the peripheries of post-colonial states has raised my interest in the growing importance of Asia’s borders, and I am one of the founders of the Asian Borderlands Research Network. I am also a Visual Anthropologist, in which capacity I use audiovisual means to strengthen the observational dimensions of qualitative research.


1998 - Award for Excellence, Society for Visual Anthropology (American Anthropological Association)


  • 2015: Social Science Collaboration Grant, ICSSR/NWO
  • 2015: Leiden research profile Asian Modernities en Traditions (AMT) ‘Large Grant’ of €150.000, for the research project ‘Postcolonial Displacements: Migration, Narratives and Place-Making in South Asia.’
  • 2013: Marginal Lands? The Commodification and Re-appreciation of Upland Agriculture in the Borderlands of Northeast India
  • 1999-2004: Individual Project Grant, Netherlands Foundation for the Advancement of Tropical Research (NWO/WOTRO)
  • 1999-2001: Cultural Exchange Scholarship, Indian Council for Cultural Relations

Relevant links


PhD candidates

Idrees Kanth MA, 'National consciousness and Public discourse in Twentieth century Kashmir' (with Prof. N.K. Wickramasinghe, LIAS)


  • Prof. J.G. Oosten

  • Prof. H.W. van Schendel