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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

Dr. Olivia Killias

Name
Dr. Olivia Killias

Name
Dr. Olivia Killias

Research Associate / Lecturer

Research


Trained as a sociologist and anthropologist at the Universities of Lausanne and Amsterdam, Olivia Killias graduated with highest honours from the University of Lausanne. She obtained her PhD (summa cum laude) in social anthropology from the University of Bern with a thesis entitled “Follow the Maid: a Multi-Sited Ethnography of Domestic Worker Migration from Indonesia”. From the recruitment by brokers, to the training in agencies’ secluded camps, the placement abroad and the return back to Indonesia, she followed the paths of women from one particular village on Java who roam near and far for employment in domestic work and researched the conditions under which bonded labour developed in the migration process. Her dissertation provides new insights on domestic worker migration and in particular on the ways in which anti-trafficking discourses have shaped understandings of (il)legal migration in the Indonesian context. Her thesis was awarded the prize for Best Dissertation by the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Bern in October 2012.

 

Olivia Killias is currently working on her post-doctoral research project on educational mobility from the Middle East to Malaysia. In this project, she is looking in particular at everyday negotiations of the religious and the secular in the context of everyday coexistence in a Malaysian apartment block. This new research is part of the BMBF-funded network of competence Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia’.

 

Research Interests


  • Ethnographies of globalisation
  • Postcolonial and feminist theory
  • Anthropology of migration, multi-sited ethnography
  • Anthropology of religion, intersections between „religion“ and „economy“
  • Consumption and material culture
  • Regional interests: Indonesia, Malaysia

 

Teaching


Olivia Killias has taught undergraduate courses in sociology and (media) anthropology as a teaching assistant at the Universities of Neuchâtel, Lausanne and Bern. She was also co- organizing the joint Summer School “Memory Making and Heritage in Southeast Asia” of the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, the Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang (Malaysia) and Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta (Indonesia) that took place in Yogyakarta in February 2014.

 

Recent courses taught at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin:

  • WS 2011/12: Gender and Sexuality in Southeast Asia (together with Eva Eichenauer) 
  • WS 2011/12: Summer School "(In)Congruities between Nation, State and Civil Society" at Universitas Sains Malaysia, Penang/Malaysia (coordinated by Dr. Frederik Holst)
  • WS 2012/13: Summer School "(In)Congruities between Nation, State and Civil Society" at Universitas Sains Malaysia, Penang/Malaysia (coordinated by Dr. Frederik Holst)
  • WS 2013/14: Summer School “Memory Making and Heritage in Southeast Asia” together with Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta/Indonesia and Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang/Malaysia. See here for more information.

 

Grants/Awards


  • 2012: Prize for Best Dissertation awarded by the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Bern.
  • 2009: SAGW Grant (Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften) for participation in ICAS 2009 in Daejeon, South Korea
  • 2009: 12-month SNF fellowship for young researchers from the Swiss National Science Foundation and spent as a visiting fellow at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society at the University of Oxford, and at the Seminar of Southeast Asian Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

 

Selected Publications


Journal Articles

2012. Sisters in Islam: un collectif féministe conteste l’autoritarisme étatique et religieux en Malaisie. Nouvelles Questions Féministes 31 (2): 144-149

2012. Follow the Maid: a Multi-Sited Ethnography of Domestic Worker Migration from Indonesia (PhD dissertation defended at the University of Bern). Bern: Selbstverlag

2011. The Visual Production of ‘Maids’. Essay in Visual Anthropology. Tsantsa (16): 140-153

2010. ‘Illegal’ Migration as Resistance: Legality, Morality and Coercion in Indonesian Domestic Worker Migration to Malaysia. Asian Journal of Social Science 38 (6): 897-914

2009. The Politics of Bondage in the Recruitment, Training and Placement of Indonesian Migrant Domestic Workers. Sociologus. Zeitschrift für empirische Ethnosoziologie und Ethnopsychologie 2009 (2): 145-172

2009. Following the Maid. Multi-Sited Ethnography in Times of ‘Transnational’ Domestic Labour. Tsantsa (14): 147-151

2005. Un Autre Regard sur l’Islamisation de l’Indonésie: les Pratiques de Consommatrices Musulmanes en Milieu Urbain Indonésien. Bulletin der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft Mittlerer Osten und Islamische Kulturen, March 2005

 

Reviews

Submitted. Review Article: Liebelt, Claudia (2011). Caring for the Holy Land. Sociologus.

 

Selected Films

2008. With De Roo, Roland, Kathrin Oester and Martin Waelchli. Comprehension Can Cure: Global Migration – Local Solutions in Health Care. 32 Min. By order of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. Production: Artefakt Wort + Bild. 

2007. With De Roo, Roland, Kathrin Oester and Martin Waelchli. Vivre la Diversité – Vielfalt gestalten. 34 Min. By order of the Swiss Federal Commission on Migration Issues. Production: Artefakt Wort + Bild.

 

Conference Papers

2013. Doing Religion in a Malaysian Apartment Block – Religion and Ethnicity in the Context of Educational Migration from the Middle East to Malaysia. Paper presented at the Conference “Mobilizing Religion: Networks and Mobility”, University of Bonn, Bonn, July 18-19

2013. Work as worship – Islam, personality and spirituality in the training of Indonesia’s migrant carers. Paper presented at the 7th EuroSEAS Conference, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, July 2-5

2013. Cosmopolitan Islam in Malaysia. Poster presented at the DORISEA mid-term Conference, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, June 26-29

2012. The Disturbing Mobility of „Maids“: Negotiating Migration in a Javanese Village. Paper presented at the Kanita Forum on Women, Gender and Migration, KANITA, Universiti Sains Malaysia (Malaysia),  November 8

2012. Intimate Encounters: Indonesian Domestic Workers in Malaysia. Paper presented at the 8th Malaysian Studies Conference, UKM, Bangi, July 9-11

2010. The Making of ‘Quality Maids’: Managing Reproduction Migration between Indonesia and Malaysia. Paper presented at the Conference on Inter-Asian Relations II : Reproduction Migration in Asia Workshop, Singapore, December 8-10

2010. About the (Im)mobilization of Mobile Women: States and the Transnational Networks of Commercial Labour Recruitment Agencies. Paper presented at the international conference MOVE, Neuchâtel, June 7-8

2009. The Personal Bond Between Maid and Madam. Contractual and Other Forms of Dependency in Contemporary Transnational Domestic Labour. Paper presented at the International Convention of Asian Scholars in Daejeon, South Korea, August 6-9

2008. Made in Indonesia. The Politics of Bondage in the Recruitment, Training and Placement of Migrant Javanese Domestic Workers. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Swiss Society of Ethnology. Geneva, November 21-22 

2007. Paper presented at the conference on « Debt, Mobility and Dependency in Southeast Asia », Asia Research Centre for Migration, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, August 30-31

 

Seminars and Lectures

2013. Doing Religion in a Malaysian apartment block - Verhandlungen religiöser und ethnischer Identität in der malaysischen Moderne. Paper presented in the lecture series "Religionen und Kulturen in Süd- und Südostasien” organized by Prof. Dr. Nadja-Christina Schneider, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, June 14

2012. Comment “rendre mobile” les méthodes: quelques observations sur l’ethnographie multi-site. Paper presented in the lecture of Prof. Dr. Janine Dahinden and Dr. Anna Neubauer on “Méthodes et Recherches Qualitatives en Sciences Sociales”, MAPS, University of Neuchatel, March 28

2012. Geister, Besessenheit und transnationaler Islam: religiöse Motive in der Arbeitsmigration von Indonesischen Hausarbeiterinnen. Paper presented in the seminar of Prof. Dr. Manja Stephan, „Räumliche Mobilität in muslimischen Kontexten“, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, January 26

2011. Time in the anthropological study of mobility: notes from a multi-sited ethnography of domestic worker migration. Paper presented at the Seminar of the Institute of Social Anthropology, Bern University, September 28  

2011. Institutions et migrations: une introduction. Paper presented in Prof. Dr. Ellen Hertz’ seminar “Anthropologie des Organisations”, Institute of Ethnology, University of Neuchatel, October 27

2010. The Making of ‘Quality Maids’. Paper presented at the Work in Progress Session, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, Oxford University, November 4

2010. The State as the Enemy of Women who Move Around: Legality, Morality and Coercion in Indonesian Domestic Worker Migration to MalaysiaPaper presented at the module „State“ with Prof. Dr. James C. Scott and Prof. Dr. Jürg Helbling at the Swiss Graduate School in Social Anthropology, Lucerne, March

2009. Made in Indonesia. The Politics of Bondage in the Recruitment, Training and Placement of Javanese Transnational Domestic WorkersPaper presented at the Seminar of Southeast Asian Studies, Humboldt Universität Berlin, April

2008. Made in Indonesia. The Politics of Bondage in the Recruitment, Training and Placement of Javanese Transnational Domestic Workers. Paper presented at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, October

2008. Javanese Domestic Workers in Malaysia. Paper presented at the Department of Anthropology, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, April

2008. Malaysia and its ‘Indon Maids’. Presentation by invitation of Sheila Murugasu, Monash University, Kuala Lumpur, April 

2008. Indonesian Domestic Workers at Home and Abroad. Presentation at IKMAS, Universitas Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, April

2006. Bonded in Intimacy. Space in the Context of Domestic Work. Paper presented at the module “Space” with Prof. Dr. Waltraud Kokot and Prof. Dr. Walter Leimgruber of the Swiss Graduate School in Social and Cultural Anthropology, Basle, November

 

Conference / Workshop Organization


2013. Piety, Productivity and Prosperity in Times of Economic Globalization in Southeast Asia. Panel convened (together with Sabine Zurschmitten, University of Bern) at the 7th EuroSEAS Conference, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, July 2-5

2013. Secularization of religion, sacralization of politics? The state of religion in Southeast Asia. Panel co-organized at the DORISEA mid-termn Conference, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, June 26-29 (please find the full conference program with abstracts here)

2012. Organization of a PhD Workshop Religion in Southeast Asia together with Saskia Schäfer, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, February 3