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Dr Luke Heslop
Lecturer in Anthropology and Global Challenges


I trained in anthropology at the University of Edinburgh (PhD 2015) and was a Fellow at the London School of Economics prior to joining Brunel as a Lecturer in Anthropology. I have worked for many years in Sri Lanka and the Maldives and my research is centred on current trends in development and anthropology around markets, infrastructure, work and labour. My ethnographic work engages with the lived experience of macro-economic and political change and global challenges in emerging economies. I specialise in trade, mobility, and the social life of work in South Asia. More recently my research focus has been on the financialisation of Development, transforming modes of Aid, and the relationship between entrepreneurship and advice.   

Office hours are virtual and held on Fridays 3pm-5pm. Email to make an appointment. 


  • PhD in Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh (2015)
  • MSc(res) in Social Anthropology, University of Ediburgh (2010)
  • BA(Joint Hons) Anthropology and Development Studies, Sussex University (2009)

Book Projects

Heslop, L.A. In a Merchant’s House: Kinship and Capital in Small-Town Sri Lanka (in preparation).

2021,  Heslop L.A, & Murton, G. (eds.) Highways and Hierarchies: ethnographies of mobility from the Himālaya to the Indian Ocean. University of Amsterdam Press. 

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Heslop, L.A & I. Perera. Entrepreneurship in crisis: Credit economies and business advice in low-income urban Sri Lanka (in preparation).

Heslop, L.A, Bowers, R. & D. Lewis: Ecosystems of Advice and Entrepreneurship in South Asia: Unfolding Dynamics of Development Financialisation. European Journal of International Development. (Under review).

2022 - Heslop, L.A. & Hawwa, L. '"Infrastructure, Circulation, and Ecology in the Maldives." In the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Ed. David Ludden. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

2022 - Heslop, L. A. ‘From haunted houses to housed hauntings: ghosts, oracles, and kinship ambivalence in a Sri Lankan merchant family. Current Anthropology.

2021- Heslop, L.A, Rotter, R & L. Jeffery. ‘Navigating interdisciplinarity: negotiating discipline, embodiment, and materiality on a field methods training course'. Teaching Anthropology.

2020 - Heslop, L.A. ‘A journey through ‘infraspace’: The financial architecture of infrastructure’. Economy and Society. DOI:10.1080/03085147.2020.1733843

2020 - Heslop, L.A & Jeffery, L. ‘Roadwork: expertise at work building roads in the Maldives’. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9655.13236.

2019 - Heslop, L.A. ‘Trading on Commission in Sri Lanka's Wholesale Scene’, Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, 84:3, 398-414.

2019 - Heslop L, A. & Cross, J. ‘Anthropology for Sale: introduction’, Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, 84:3, 369-379.

2016 - Heslop L. A. 'Catching the pulse: money and circulation in a Sri Lankan marketplace'. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI). Vol. 22:3, 535-551.

2015 - Heslop, L. A. ‘Signboards and the naming of small businesses: promotion, personhood and dissimulation in a Sri Lankan market town’, SAMAJ: South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal. 12, On Names in South Asia: Iteration, (Im)propriety and Dissimulation. 

*2014 - Heslop, L.A. 'On Sacred Ground: The Political Performance of Religious Responsibility'. Contemporary South Asia. 22 (1): 21-36. 

*An early version of this paper was awarded, 'Outstanding post-graduate essay' by the British Association for South Asian Studies (2013). And informed a document entitled, 'Of Sacred Sites and Profane Politics', prepared by the Secretariat for Muslims, Sri Lanka (2015) 

Edited Collections

Heslop L.A, & Murton, G. (eds.) Highways and Hierarchies: ethnographies of mobility from the Himalaya to the Indian Ocean. University of Amsterdam Press (under contract).

2019 - Heslop L, A. & Cross, J. ‘Anthropology for Sale'. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology.

2015 - Heslop L.A. ‘Protest, Dissent, and Political Change in Post War Sri Lanka’. The South Asianist: The Journal of South Asian Studies. Vol. 4.

Reviews, blogs, magazines and online publishing

Heslop, L.A 2023. Independence: Sri Lanka at 75. London School of Economics South Asia Centre

Heslop, L.A. 2020. ‘Roadside suspicion, island development, and runways to the sky’. Roadsides

Heslop, L.A. 2017. 'Liquidity'. Weather Matters.

Heslop, L.A. 2016. 'Publishing for PhD students: Four things to know'.  Allegra Lab

 Heslop, L.A. 2016. Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox's, 'Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise'. The LSE Review of Books

 Heslop L.A. 2016. 'On the Hooghly', A review of Laura Bear's 'Navigating Austerity: Currents of Debt Along a South Asian River'. Current Anthropology. 57(03): 379-380.