Steven van Wolputte

Anthropology, Leuven
Fellowship: 01.10.2010–31.03.2011; 01.10.2012–31.03.2013


Steven Van Wolputte (*1970) was trained in sociology and anthropology. After obtaining his Phd. in 1999, he was granted successive postdoctoral fellowships by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) in 1999 and 2002, and appointed professor of social and cultural anthropology in 2004. Currently he is Program Director of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. His research focuses on the culture and history of northern Namibia.


Fields of Research

  • General: Africanist anthropology, anthropology of the body, urban anthropology, history and anthropology, political anthropology
  • Thematic: the making of selves and identities, veterinary medicine and the history of indirect rule and apartheid, culture and history of colonialism, political ecology, material culture and technology, the making and unmaking of borders and boundaries, pastoralism in Africa, (secondary) cities in Africa.
  • Geographical: southern Africa, Namibia, Himba-Herero culture and society.



Publications (Selection)

  • Ed. (in prep). Borders and frontiers in Africa. Münster, Berlin: LIT Verlag.
  • (in press). Twins and intertwinement. Ambivalence and ambiguity in northern Namibia. In Philip Peek (ed). Double trouble or twice blessed. Twins in Africa and diaspora cultures. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • With Mattia Fumanti, eds. (2010). Beer in Africa. Drinking spaces, states and selves. Münster, Berlin: LIT Verlag.
  • (2007). Cattle works: livestock policy, apartheid and development in Northwest Namibia, c. 1920-1980. African Studies, Vol. 66, No. 1, pp. 103-128.
  • (2006). The political ecology of water in Northwest Namibia. Mededelingen der zittingen van de Koninklijke Academie voor Overzeese Wetenschappen, 52 (4), pp.459-477.
  • (2005). Review article: Animals at stake. A tribology of modernity and the state. Social Anthropology 13 (3): pp. 339-345
  • With Gustaaf Verswijver, eds. (2004). At the fringes of modernity. People, animals, transitions, African Pastoralists Studies II. Tervuren: Royal Museum for Central Africa, 237p
  • (2004). Hang on to your self. Of bodies, embodiment and selves. Annual Review of Anthropology 33, pp. 251-69
  • (2004). Subject disobedience: the colonial narrative and native counterworks in northwestern Namibia, c. 1920-1975. History and Anthropology 15 (2), pp. 151-173.
  • (2003). Material culture in Himbaland, northern Namibia. African Pastoralists Studies I. Tervuren: Royal Museum for Central Africa, 336p.
  • With Renaat Devisch, Jaak Le Roy & Dimomfu Lapika (2002). Medical pluralism and lay therapy management in Kinshasa Upppsala-Leuven Research in Cultural Anthropology 2. Uppsala: Uppsala University Press, 132+viiip.