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Götz Hoeppe

Associate Professor; Department Chair

Götz Hoeppe

Office:  PAS 2018

Phone: 519-888-4567 x32553



Götz Hoeppe received a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from Freie Universität, Berlin and a Master of Science degree in Physics at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Hoeppe's research and teaching interests include the Anthropology of science and technology, environmental anthropology, experts and expertise, globalization, ethnomethodology, theory and methods of sociocultural anthropology; India.

As science and technology have come to affect all aspects of human life around the globe, their study has developed into one of the most active and insightful branches of anthropology. It addresses issues emerging from the spread of new technologies, practices of knowing and regimes of governance. Doing so offers new perspectives on enduring questions of anthropological inquiry, such as the relations of nature and culture, reality and representation, as well as the local and the global.

Concerned with these topics, I have applied anthropological approaches to the study of local environmental knowledge and its contestations in a south Indian coastal region, continued by considering international collaboration in contemporary science, as well as – ‘in reverse’ – by studying how scientific objects are made to enter and transform sites in the global South. I have been concentrating on two ethnographic projects, one focusing on the Indian state of Kerala and the other on the global epistemic culture of digital astronomy, drawing on fieldwork in Chile, Spain, Germany and the United States.



2007 - Conversations on the Beach: Fishermen's Knowledge, Metaphor and Environmental Change in South India.  New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books.

2007 - Why the Sky is Blue: Discovering the Color of Life. Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Louis J. Battan Author’s Award, American Meteorological Society (2010)

Honorable Mention, Atmospheric Science Librarians International Choice Award (2008)

German edition published in 1999, Korean edition in 2009

Papers in refereed journals and book chapters

2016 – "An Instructive Return to Laboratory Ethnography." Symbolic Interaction 39 (1): 158 - 161.

2015 – “Representing Representation (Review Essay).” Science, Technology & Human Values 40 (6): 1077 – 1092.

2014 – “Working Data Together: The Accountability and Reflexivity of Digital Astronomical Practice.” Social Studies of Science 44 (2): 243 - 270.

2012 – “Astronomers at the Observatory: Place, Visual Practice, Traces.” Anthropological Quarterly 85 (4): 1141-1160.

2012 – “Geschichte der Astronomie.” In: Hans-Heinrich Voigt/Hermann-Josef Röser/Werner Tscharnuter (Eds.) Abriss der Astronomie. Weinheim: Wiley/VCH, p. 1063 – 1093.

2011 – “Extended Vision: Finding Fish Like South Indian Fishermen.” In: Marie-Claude Mahias (Ed.), Construire les savoirs dans l'action: Apprentissages et enjeux sociaux en Asie du sud, Purusharta, vol. 29, Paris: Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, p. 205 – 235.

2011 – “Atmospheric Ozone and Colors of the Antarctic Twilight Sky.” Applied Optics 50 (28): F161 – 171. (with Raymond L. Lee and Wolfgang Meyer)

2009 – “Appropriating "Science" and "Relatedness": Environmental Conflict and Environmental Knowledge in the Fishery of Kerala (South India).” In: Kato, Tsuyoshi / Uyar, Aysun (Eds.), The Question of Poverty in Conflict and Conflict Resolution, Kyoto: Ryukoku University, p. 39 – 52.

2008 – “Knowing the Sea in the "Time of Progress": Environmental Change, Parallel Knowledges and the Uses of Metaphor in Kerala (South India).” In: Casimir, M. (Ed.), Culture and the Changing Environment: Uncertainty, Cognition and Risk Management in Cross-Cultural Perspective, Oxford/New York: Berghahn Books, p. 301 – 324.

2006 – "Knowledge Against the State: Local Perceptions of Government Interventions in the Fishery (Kerala, India)." In: Cederlöf, Gunnel/Sivaramakrishnan, K. (Eds.), Ecological Nationalisms: Nature, Livelihoods, and Identities in South Asia, New Delhi: Permanent Black/Seattle: University of Washington Press, p. 233 – 254.

2005 – “Sky.” In: Bron Taylor and Jeff Kaplan (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, London/New York: Thoemmes Continuum Press, p. 1554 – 1556.

2004 – “What happened to the chaakara? The Formation of Coastal Mud Banks and the Reformation of Local Environmental Knowledge in Kerala (South India).” In: Dilger, Hansjörg/Volker-Saad, Kerstin/Wolf, Angelika (Eds.), Moderne und postkoloniale Transformation: Ethnologische Schrift zum 60. Geburtstag von Ute Luig, Berlin: Weißensee-Verlag, p. 242 – 257.

2004 – “Die Wanderung der Sardinen: Lokales Umweltwissen und Kolonialismus in Indien.” Historische Anthropologie, 12 (3): 397 – 414.

2003 – “The work of fishing and the moral constitution of space in Kerala (South India).” Proceedings of the conference “People and the Sea II”, publication on CD-ROM, Amsterdam.

2003 – “Blaue Luft? Die Geschichte einer „falschen“ Idee.” In: Busch, Bernd (Ed.), “Luft,” Cologne: Wienand, p. 97 – 110.

2002 – “An den Rand gedrängt? Die wechselhafte Rolle des Menschen im astronomischen Weltbild der Moderne.” In: Natur in der Moderne: Interdisziplinäre Ansichten, Eds. Ute Luig/Hans-Dietrich Schultz, Berliner Geographische Schriften, Vol. 93, Berlin: Humboldt-Universität, p. 23 – 38.

2002 – “Von den realen Problemen einer imaginären Person: Über die Beziehung zwischen Feldforschern und lokalen Mitarbeitern.” In: Dilger, Hansjörg/Guzy, Lidia/Sieveking, Nadine (Eds.), Vielstimmigkeit als Konzept: Beiträge zur Theorie und Praxis der ethnologischen Forschung, Sozialanthropologische Arbeitspapiere, Nr. 93, Berlin: Verlag Hans Schiler, p. 39 - 45.

2000 – “When the Shark bites the Stingray: The Night Sky in the Construction of the Manus World.” Anthropos, 95 (1): 23 – 36.

1994 – "Radio-Continuum and Far-Infrared Observations of Low Surface Brightness Galaxies." Astronomical Journal, 108: 446 – 455. (with E. Brinks, U. Klein, C. Giovanardi, D. Altschuler, R.M. Price, H. Deeg)

Popular writings (selection)

2007 - (editor) "Kosmische Ursprünge: Wie Astronomen die Geschichte des Universums enträtseln" ("Cosmic Origins: How Astronomers Unravel the History of the Universe"), Dossier 5/2007, Spektrum der Wissenschaft. (84 pp)

2007 - "'Die Dunkle Energie bedroht die Kultur der astronomischen Forschung': Gespräch mit dem Astrophysiker Simon White." Spektrum der Wissenschaft, 8/2007, p. 56 – 60.

2006 - (editor) "Astronomie vor Galilei" ("Astronomy Before Galilei"), Dossier 4/2006, Spektrum der Wissenschaft. (84 pp) 

2006 - "Kolams: Technologie der Verzauberung." Spezial "Ethnomathematik." Spektrum der Wissenschaft, p. 52 – 59.

2006 - “Biertischtheologie ist nicht die Lösung – Ein Dialog zwischen Hans Küng und Gerhard Börner”, Spektrum der Wissenschaft 4/2006, p. 100-104 (with Reinhard Breuer).

 (Reprinted in Spanish in Investigacion y Ciencia, 6/2006, p. 6-10)

2005 - "Hubble in der Unterwelt: Die Ausstellung „Das halbe Universum“ in München." Sterne und Weltraum, 7/2005, p. 50 – 55.

2004 - "Projekt Epica: Zeitreisen in die Tiefe des Eises." Sterne und Weltraum, 12/2004, p. 34 – 38.

2004 - “'In diesen sechs Zahlen steckt eine neue Physik': Ein Gespräch mit dem Kosmologen David Spergel." Sterne und Weltraum, 11/2004, p. 24 – 31.

2003 - "Himmelslicht: Spiegelbild des Erdklimas." In: Themenheft „Licht + Finsternis“, FUndiert - Das Wissenschaftsmagazin der Freien Universität Berlin, 1/2003, p. 52 – 61.

2001 - "Der schönste aller möglichen Himmel." Natur & Kosmos, 5/2001, p. 32 – 36.

1999 - "Leben mit den Sternen – Die Astronomie der Manus in Papua Neuguinea." Sterne und Weltraum, 12/99, p. 1046 – 1051.

Book reviews (selection)

2013 – “Hélène Mialet: Hawking Incorporated – Stephen Hawking and the Anthropology of the Knowing Subject,” American Ethnologist 40 (3): 600 - 601.

2010 - “Natasha Stacey: Boats to Burn – Bajo Fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone”, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.), 16 (1): 184 – 185.

2005 - “Francesco Bertola: Via Lattea – Un Percurso Nel Cielo e Nella Storia dell’Uomo”, in: Sterne und Weltraum, 10/2005, p. 98.

2004 - “Albert Einstein: Verehrte An- und Abwesende”, Audio-CD, Sterne und Weltraum, 4/2004, p. 98.

1999 - “Bernard Juillerat: Children of the Blood – Society, Reproduction and Cosmology in New Guinea”, Sociologus, 49, p. 136 – 137.

University of Waterloo
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