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Dr Maruska Svasek

BA, PhD (University of Amsterdam)

Reader in Social Anthropology


Postgraduate co-ordinator for Anthropology

Joint Pathway Co-ordinator - BA Social Anthropology and a Modern Langauge


Tel: + 44 (0) 28 9097 3879

Office: 13UQ.301


Maruška Svašek studied painting and graphics at Art Academy Minerva in Groningen, and completed doctoral research in Anthropology in 1996 at the University of Amsterdam (an ethnography of art production and political change in Czechoslovakia, 1948-1992). Before coming to Queen’s, she held a research fellowship at the University of Utrecht, exploring political, emotional and material aspects of Czech-German relations in the Bohemian-Bavarian borderland.

Research Interests

Svašek’s main research interests include art, material mediation, migration and emotions. In her most recent work she seeks to bring these strands together, exploring mobility and agency of humans, objects and images in an era of intensifying globalization and transnational connectivity.  Previous projects that feed into this work include AHRC-funded work on Migration, Diaspora and Emotions (2007-2009), a CAP-funded project on Transnational Families, Age Progression and Care (2009-2010), and EU Framework 7 funded Euroidentities Research on Transnational Workers, Identity Formation and Emotions (2009-2011).

From June 2010 to October 2012, Svašek led the HERA-funded Interdisciplinary Research Project Creativity and Innovation in a World of Movement (CIM), a collaboration between Queen’s University Belfast; Manchester Metropolitan University; Open University; Amsterdam VU University; University of Utrecht; Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo; and Museum of Ethnology. In the context of CIM, she conducted fieldwork amongst Indians in Tamil Nadu and Northern Ireland, and established the Berghahn Book Series ‘Material Mediations: People and Things in a World of Movement’ (co-editor Birgit Meyer). Another major outcome of CIM is an Open University Resource that explores the social lives of specific artefacts (editor Amit Desai).

Recent major publications

Emotions and Human Mobility. Ethnographies of Movement (Routledge 2012)

Moving Subjects, Moving Objects: Transnationalism, Cultural Production and Emotions (Berghahn 2012)

Anthropology, Art and Cultural Production (Pluto 2007)

Postsocialism: Politics and Emotions in Central and Eastern Europe (Berghahn 2006)

(with Kay Milton) Mixed Emotions. Anthropological Studies of Feeling (Berg 2005).

Selection of book chapters and articles

Svašek, M. 2012  ‘Narrating (Migrant) Belonging: Emotions and Performative Practice’ in Being Human, Being Migrant. (ed. Anne Sigfrid Gronseth) Oxford: Berghahn.

Svašek, M. 2010 'Improvising a World in Movement: Transit, Transition and Transformation', in Cultural Expression: Creativity and Innovation (ed. H.K. Anheier and Y.R. Isar) London; Sage.

Svašek, M. 2009 'In the Field: Intersubjectivity, Empathy and the Workings of Internalised Presence' in Anthropological Fieldwork: A Relational Process(ed. D. Spencer and  J. Davies) Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.

Svašek, M. 2009 'Shared History? Polish Migrant Experiences and the Politics of Display in Northern Ireland' in Polish Migration to the UK in the 'New' European Union (ed. K. Burrell) Aldershot: Ashgate.

Svašek, M. 2009 'On the Move: Emotions and Human Mobility', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36(6).

Svašek, M. 2008 (ed.) 2008  Special Issue ‘Transnational Families: Emotions and Belonging‘, Journal of Intercultural Studies 29(3).

Svašek, M. and Skrbiš, Z. 2007 (eds.) Special Issue: ‘Emotions and Globalisation’, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 14(4).

Svašek, M. 2007 'Moving Corpses: Emotions and Subject-Object Ambiguity', in: The Emotions: A Cultural Reader (ed Helena Wulff ), Oxford: Berg.

Svašek, M. (ed)  2006 ‘Postsocialism and the Politics of Emotions’. In: Postsocialism: Politics and Emotions in Central and Eastern Europe. Oxford: Berghahn.

Svašek, M. (ed)  2006 ‘Postsocialist Ownership. Emotions, Power and Morality in a Czech Village’. In: Postsocialism: Politics and Emotions in Central and Eastern Europe. Oxford: Berghahn.

Svašek, M 2005 ‘Emotions in Anthropology’ in Mixed Emotion Anthropological Studies of Feeling (eds. K. Milton and M. Svašek). Oxford: Berg. 

Svašek, M 2005 ‘The Politics of Chosen Trauma: Expellee Memories, Emotions and Identities’ in Mixed Emotion Anthropological Studies of Feeling (eds. K. Milton and M. Svašek). Oxford: Berg. 

Entry on PURE research portal



A World on the Move, ANT1003  

Culture and Society, ANT1001

Material Culture and Visual Media, ANT2009; ANT3029 

Love, Hate and Beyond, ANT2010; ANT3010

MA Anthropological Methods, ANT7007

MA New Frontiers in Anthropology 7010

Research Network

In 2007, Svašek co-established the Cultural Dynamics and Emotions Network (CDEN) with Dr. Kala Shreen (MOP Vaishnav College for woman, Madras, India). CDEN stimulates research on cultural dynamics and emotional processes, and functions as a teaching tool to facilitate communication between lectures and students interested in the study of emotions.

Relevant Web Connections

CIM website:

Material Mediations Series:

CDEN website: Cultural Dynamics and Emotions Network  

Euroidentities Research:

CAP Research:

AHRC Diasporas Research:

Centre for International Borders Research

Current PhD students

Naoko Maehara - The Emotional Dynamics of Cross-border Married Life: Japanese Migrant Wives and Mothers in Ireland

Shawn Reming Jr  - Viewing Conflict: Museum Visitors, Affective Experience, and exhibitions of the conflict in and about Northern Ireland

Wang Sha - Chinese Diaspora and Language Learning in Northern Ireland

Recently completed PhD students

Bree Hocking  The Great Reimagining: Public art, urban space and the symbolic landscapes of a ‘new’ Northern Ireland

Paul McCreary   Emotions and perceptual experiences of hunters in Alaska