Professor Trevor H J Marchand
BSc (Arch) BArch (McGill) PhD (London)
Professor of Social Anthropology
- Professor Trevor H J Marchand
- Email address:
- +44 (0)20 7898 4424
- +44 (0)20 7898 4699
- SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
- Russell Square: College Buildings
- Office No:
- Office Hours:
- Mondays 1-3pm
Trevor Marchand's most recent interview on the Social Science Bites podcast can be found here.
Prof Trevor Marchand's Inaugural Lecture: The Pursuit of Pleasurable Work: an Anthropology of Craft and Craftspeople
Professor Trevor H J Marchand - Craft Knowledge, Learning and Apprenticeship
After completing studies in architecture (McGill 1992), I was supported by an award from the Canadian International Development Agency to conduct field research on the mud-brick building practices and decorative styles in the Hausa Emirate of Zaria, Northern Nigeria. This study promoted the development of an anthropological approach to my core interests in architecture, building-craft knowledge and apprenticeship. My subsequent PhD in anthropology (SOAS 1999) included a lengthy apprenticeship with minaret builders in San'a, Yemen, and resulted in a first monograph Minaret Building & Apprenticeship in Yemen (2001). Later, as a SOAS Lecturer, I resumed research with West African masons, this time working as a labourer and apprentice in Djenné, Mali (2001-2005) and supported by a grant from the British Academy. This produced a second monograph The Masons of Djenné (2009), winner of the Elliot P. Skinner Award from the Association for Africanist Anthropology, the 2010 Melville J. Herskovits Award from the African Studies Association, and the Amaury Talbot Prize for African Anthropology from the Royal Anthropological Institute. My work with Djenné's masons also resulted in a co-edited special issue of the journal Africa titled Knowledge in Practice (with Kai Kresse 2009); a co-produced documentary film The Future of Mud: a tale of houses and lives in Djenné (with Susan Vogel and Samuel Sidibe, 2007); and a London public lecture series and photographic exhibition, Djenné: African City of Mud, at the Royal Institute of British Architects(2010). More current research with Djenné masons has resulted in a second documentary film Masons of Djenné (2013) and a long-term exhibition, Mud Masons of Mali, in the Africa Focus Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History (co-curated with Mary Jo Arnoldi, 2013 onward).
In 2005 I was awarded a three-year ESRC Fellowship to study craft knowledge and vocational training with carpenters and furniture makers in England (RES 000-27-0159). Again, I employed an apprentice-style field method to investigate skill-based learning and practice, and I documented social relations, professional aspirations and economic challenges faced by fellow woodwork trainees at the Building Crafts College in Stratford, East London, and by established furniture makers around the country. This produced an in-depth ethnographic study of English fine woodworkers (The Pursuit of Pleasurable Work, monograph in preparation), and a unique cross-cultural comparative analysis with craftspeople in Arabia and Africa. Equally important, the study also allowed me to advance a theory of embodied cognition and communication grounded in Dynamic Syntax theory (Ruth Kempson et al.) and cutting-edge research in the neurosciences. A lecture series and a workshop on 'learning and knowledge' were organised during the Fellowship, resulting in a special issue of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute on Making Knowledge (2010). In 2013 I took up a twelve-month British Academy mid-Career Fellowship to continue studies with woodworkers, this time focusing on the complex relation between the human brain, hands and tools, as well as on problem-solving with tools, in practice. Ultimately, my research with craftspeople aims to expand popular definitions of ‘knowledge’ and promote greater appreciation for skilled work.
In 2014, I was awarded the Rivers Memorial Medal by the Royal Anthropological Institute.
PhD Students supervised
- Cristiana Strava, At Home with Modernity: Exploring Place-making on the Margins of Casablanca.
- Gunvor Jónsson, At the End of the Railway Line. Malian Female Traders in the Senegalese Capital.
- Jamila Dorner, Learning Bharatanatyam: Bodily, Sensory and Social Enskilment in South Indian Dance.
- Karin Ahlberg, "They are destroying the image of Egypt": Tourism, Egyptian nationhood and infrastructures of image making.
- Katharina Graf, Domestic Cooking in Morocco: Skill, Knowledge Transmission and Social Change (working title)
- Niamh Jane Clifford Collard, Crafting Knowledge Through Textiles in Ewe-speaking Ghana
- Robert Simpkins, Playing in Kōenji: making street music in a Tokyo neighbourhood (working title).
I teach theory in anthropology, regional culture and society, and I have developed specialised courses on Anthropology & Linguistics, Anthropology of Gender, Sexuality & the Body, and Anthropology of Urban Space, Place & Architecture. The last is an outgrowth of my main research interests. It introduces various approaches to studying space and the built environment, and engages critically with the historic, social and cultural constructions of these concepts. The principal aim is to challenge notions of ‘space’ as a reified entity that is conceptualised and inhabited in a universal manner, and to cultivate a more complex understanding of the processes by which humans manipulate, produce and reproduce space as perhaps the most significant component of any material culture.
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- Special Study Programmes
- Short Term Consultancy
- Long Term Consultancy
- United Kingdom
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2009) The Masons of Djenné. Bloomington Indiana: Indiana University Press. (winner of the AfAA Elliot P. Skinner Prize, the ASA 2010 Melville J. Herskovits Award, and the RAI Amaury Talbot Prize for African Anthropology)
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2001) Minaret Building and Apprenticeship in Yemen. Richmond: Curzon.
Edited Books or Journal Volumes
Fardon, Richard and Harris, Olivia and Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Nuttall, Mark and Shore, Cris and Wilson, Richard A., eds. (2012) Handbook of Social Anthropology. London: Sage.
Marchand, Trevor H.J., ed. (2010) Making Knowledge: explorations of the indissoluble relation between mind, body and environment. Special Issue of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Kresse, Kai, eds. (2009) Knowledge in Practice: expertise and the transmission of knowledge. Edinburgh University Press. (Africa: Special Issue)
Marchand, Trevor H. J. (2015) 'Place-Making in the "Holy of Holies": the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem.' In: Mitchell, Jon and Bull, Michael, (eds.), Ritual, Performance and the Senses. London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 63-84.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2014) 'Skill and Aging: Perspectives from Three Generations of English Woodworkers.' In: Hallam, Elizabeth and Ingold, Tim, (eds.), Making and Growing: Anthropological Studies of Organisms and Artefacts. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, pp. 183-202. (Anthropological Studies of Creativity and Perception)
Marchand, Trevor H. J. (2013) 'The Djenné Mosque: world heritage and social renewal in a West African town.' In: Verkaaik, Oskar, (ed.), Religious Architecture: anthropological perspectives. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 117-148.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2012) ''Anthropologies to Come'. Part 4 introduction.' In: Fardon, Richard and Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Nuttall, Mark and Shore, Chris and Strang, Veronica and Wilson, Chris, (eds.), Handbook of Social Anthropology. London: Sage, pp. 225-228.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2012) 'Knowledge in Hand: explorations of brain, hand and tool.' In: Fardon, Richard and Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Nuttall, Mark and Shore, Chris and Strang, Veronica and Wilson, Chris, (eds.), Handbook of Social Anthropology. London: Sage, pp. 260-269.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2011) 'Negotiating Tradition in Practice: mud masons and meaning-making in contemporary Djenne.' In: Teutonico, Jeanne Marie, (ed.), Terra 2008 Proceedings. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute and Trust Publications.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2010) 'Embodied Cognition, Communication and the Making of Place and Identity: Reflections on Fieldwork with Masons.' In: Rapport, Nigel, (ed.), Human Nature as Capacity. Oxford: Berghahn. (Methodology and History of Anthropology)
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2007) 'Crafting Knowledge: the role of 'parsing and production' in the communication of skill-based knowledge among masons.' In: Harris, Mark, (ed.), Ways of Knowing. Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 173-193.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2006) 'Endorsing Indigenous Knowledge: the Role of Masons and Apprenticeship in Sustaining Vernacular Architecture - the Case of Djenne.' In: Asquith, L. and Vellinga, M., (eds.), Vernacular Architecture in the Twenty-First Century. Theory, Education and Practice. London: Taylor & Francis, pp. 46-62.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2003) 'Process over Product: Case Studies of Traditional Building Practices in Djenne, Mali and San'a', Yemen.' In: Teutonico, J. M. and Matero, F., (eds.), Managing Change: Sustainable Approaches to the Conservation of the Built Environment. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute, pp. 137-159.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2003) 'Rang Professionnel Laborieusement Acquis: devenir maitre macon a Djenne.' In: Bedaux, R. and Diaby, B. and Maas, P., (eds.), l'Architecture de Djenne. Gent: Snoeck, pp. 29-43.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Joffroy, T. (2003) 'Sensuous Mud / Sensuele Aarde (English and Flemish).' In: Les Maitres de la Terre. Belgium: Cultuur Centrum Brugge, 19-23, 43.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2003) 'A possible explanation for the lack of explanation; or 'Why the Master Builder can't explain what he knows': Introducing the Informational Atomism against a 'definitional' definition of concepts.' In: Pottier, J. and Bicker, A. and Sillitoe, P., (eds.), Negotiating Local knowldege. Pluto Press, pp. 30-50.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2000) 'Walling Old Sana'a: Re-evaluating the resurrection of the city walls.' In: Terra 2000: 8th International Conference on the study and conservation of earthen architecture. James & James Science Publishers Ltd, pp. 46-51.
Marchand, Trevor H J (2014) 'Workshop 1: Craftwork as Problem-Solving.' Making Futures Journal, 3 . pp. 1-4.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2013) 'For the Love of Masonry: Djenne craftsmen in turbulent times.' Journal of African Cultural Studies, 26 (2). pp. 155-172.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2010) 'Embodied Cognition and Communication: studies with British fine woodworkers.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16 (s1). pp. 100-120.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2010) 'Preface and Introduction: Making Knowledge.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16 (s1). iii-v, 1-21.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2009) 'Negotiating License and Limits: expertise and innovation in Djenne's building trade.' Africa, 79 (1). pp. 71-91.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Kresse, Kai (2009) 'Introduction: Knowledge in Practice.' Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, 79 (1). pp. 1-16.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2008) 'Muscles, Morals and Mind: craft apprenticeship and the formation of person.' British Journal of Educational Studies, 56 (3). pp. 245-271.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2007) 'Vocational Migrants and a Tradition of Longing.' Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, 19 (1). pp. 23-40.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2007) 'Fortifying Futures on Blessed Foundations: masons, secrets and guarantees in Djenné.' Mande Studies, 7 . pp. 89-98.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2006) 'Le rôle des maçons et de l'apprentissage dans la pérennité de l'architecture vernaculaire de Djenné.' Djenné Patrimoine Informations, 21 . pp. 14-16.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2005) 'Démêler le mystère de l’expertise des maçons.' Djenné Patrimoine Informations, 19 . pp. 8-12.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2003) 'Bozo-Dogon Bantering: Policing Access to Djenne's Building Trade with Jests and Spells.' Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, 14 (2). pp. 47-63.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2002) 'In the Shadow of a Master.' The British Yemeni Society Journal, 10 . pp. 8-15.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2002) 'Moulding Minaret Makers in Sana'a.' Bulletin of the Society for Arabian Studies, 7 . pp. 18-19.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2002) 'Defining 'Tradition' in the Context of Yemen's Building Trade.' Al-Masar Journal, 3 (1). pp. 3-25.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2002) 'Bozo-Dogon Bantering: Policing Access to Djenne's Building Trade with Jests and Spells.' Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Working Paper Series, 145 . pp. 23-47.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2000) 'The Lore of the Master Builder: working with local materials and local knowledge in Sana'a, Yemen.' Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Working Paper Series, 137 . pp. 1-17.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2000) 'Reconsidering the role of the Mosque Minaret in Sana'a.' Proceedings of the seminar for Arabian Studies, 29 . pp. 95-102.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (1999) 'Building Traditional Minarets in Sana'a, Yemen.' Proceedings of the Symposium on Mosque Architecture 1999, 4 . pp. 127-139.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2012) 'Learning, Education and Apprenticeship. [Review of] "Apprenticeship in Critical Ethnographic Practice" by Jean Lave.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 18 (1). pp. 209-210.
Marchand, Trevor H. J. (2012) 'Review of "Indispensable Eyesores: an anthropology of undesired buildings", by Mélanie van der Hoorn.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 18 (2). pp. 471-472.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2011) 'Review of "The Art of Livelihood: creating expressive agri-culture in rural Mali" by Stephen Wooten.' African Arts, 44 (1). pp. 90-91.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2011) 'Review of "Dans la cite des marabouts" by Geert Mommersteeg.' Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute, 81 (3). pp. 503-505.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2008) 'Review of "Hausa Urban Art and Its Social Background: External House Decorations in a Northern Nigerian City" by Friedrich W. Schwerdtfeger.' Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute, 78 (3). pp. 469-470.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2008) 'Modernity's Artisanal Roots. [Review of] The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution by Pamela Smith.' The Senses and Society Journal, 3 (1). pp. 91-96.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2006) 'Review of "Landlords and Lodgers: socio-spatial organisation in an Accra community" by D. Pellow.' Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, 17 (2).
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2004) 'Review of The Archaeology of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa.' Antiquity, 78 (301). pp. 738-740.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2002) 'Review of "Tradition and Society in Turkmenistan" [by C. Blackwell].' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 65 (3). pp. 592-594.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2002) 'Review of "Imagined Masculinities: male identity and culture in the modern Middle East" edited by M. Ghoussoub and E, Sinclair-Webb.' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 65 (1). pp. 183-185.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2000) 'Review of "House Life: space, place and family in Europe" edited by Birdwell-Pheasant & Lawrence-Zuniga.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 6 (3). pp. 565-566.
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2000) 'Review of "How We Think They Think" [by M. Bloch].' Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 63 (2). pp. 325-326.
Marchand, Trevor H. J. and Arnoldi, Mary Jo (2013) Mud Masons of Mali, Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, in the African Voices Hall Focus Gallery. [Shows/Exhibitions]
Marchand, Trevor H.J. (2010) Djenne: African City of Mud, RIBA Exhibition, March 3 - May 29 2010. [Shows/Exhibitions]
Marchand, Trevor and Arnoldi, Mary Jo and Durgerian, Pete (2013) Masons of Djenné, (22 minute documentary film). .
Marchand, Trevor H.J. and Vogel, Susan and Sidibe, Samuel (2007) Future of Mud: a tale of houses and lives in Djenné (58-minute documentary film). Brooklyn, NY: Prince Street Pictures, distributed by First Run Icarus Films.