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Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Elena Burgos-Martínez, MA, MSc, PhD, FHEA

Contact Elena Burgos-Martínez (email at


I hold an MA in Education (Granada University, Spain), an MSc in Linguistics (Edinburgh University, UK), an MSc in Social Anthropology (Edinburgh University, UK) and a PhD in Sociolinguistics (joint Edinburgh University/Granada University).

I am currently a Lecturer in South and Southeast Asia at Leiden University, Netherlands (staff profile here), where I mainly lecture at the BA/MA in International Studies (Southeast Asia).

I am also a Research Fellow at KITLV/ Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (in Leiden, the Netherlands)- developing a postdoctoral comparative project that will explore the conceptual development of governance in archipelagoes (research profile here)

My PhD in Anthropology (Durham University) explores converging notions of place, collectivity and identity on small islands in Northeast Indonesia. Ultimately, it aims to highlight the important contribution of vernacular senses of 'being' and 'becoming' to contemporary debates in the fields of political ecology and environmental theory. This PhD's thesis is also preoccupied with reflective approaches to research ethics, ethnography and methodological and conceptual challenges when approaching the fluidity of island identities and knowledges. 

For the past few years I have tutored and assessed undergraduate modules such as 'People and Cultures', 'Introduction to Anthropological Theory and Methods' and 'Dissertation Teaching'. In addition to this, I have delivered guest lectures about fieldwork, ethnography and my own research's topics. During my fieldwork in Indonesia, I delivered a workshop entitled 'Anthropological Research and Ethnographic Methods' at the Department of Cultural Studies of Universitas Dian Nuswantoro, Jawa, Indonesia ( I have also presented papers at an extensive number of conferences in the UK, Indonesia, Europe and the US.

While at Durham University I also engaged in small scale research looking at the problematic of teaching anthropological terminology to 1st year undergraduate students of Anthropology. At the core of this research project I widely discussed the challenges of successfully contextualising ethnocentric bias and the discipline's development within contemporary academia. This appeared to be partially due to the disconnections between different learning environments and the complexity of learning agencies that emerge when navigating threshold concepts at early stages. This research qualified me as Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and was awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP). In addition, it has been published as part of Teaching Anthropology Journal's special issue: 'Teaching Anthropology in Uncertain Times'.

I have also worked for a UK-based education charity seeking to help increase the access of students from underrepresented backgrounds to Higher Education. As part of my teaching post I designed, developed and delivered a course entitled: 'What Language do Humans Speak? An Anthropological Journey through Linguistic Relativism'. Consequently, I spent a year teaching this course at 9 local state schools in County Durham and Newcastle. Students ranging from year 7 to year 12 exercised debating about language ideology, accent profiling and its impact on power relations at different levels in Higher Education (read about it here:

I am a reviewer (by invitation) for the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and the Commonwealth (JRAI).

Research Interests

  • Archipelagos
  • Indonesia
  • Shetland
  • The Caribbean
  • Faroe Islands
  • Intersection of political ecology and environmental theory
  • Conceptual development and practice of policy and governance
  • Converging Environmental Epistemes
  • Hospitality
  • Vernacular senses of multiplicity and change
  • Higher Education Paradigms
  • Relation between formatised ethics and 'the field'
  • Linguistic profiling/accent profiling

Selected Publications

Book review

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

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Research Groups

Is supervised by