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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Alex Gapud

Alex Gapud
Dr Alex Gapud
Teaching Fellow
5.12 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
Research Interests
Anthropology of memory, History and Memory, Anthropology of Britain, Anthropology of History, Bristol, Contested Heritage, Materiality, Secrets, Silence, colonial aphasia, Metropolitan Postcolonial Memory, Politics of Memory, British Empire

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • By Appointment (Summer) - Please Email


I am a two-time University-wide award-winning teacher, Winner of the Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) Award for Best Student who Tutors 2017/18 and Runner-Up for the EUSA Award for Best Student who Tutors 2015/16.  In my years of teaching, I have received over 60 award nominations in a variety of categories.

This year (2018-19), I am the Postgraduate Tutor for Culture and Power (PGSP11178, Political Anthropology) and Consumption, Exchange and Technology (PGSP11176, Economic Anthropology). I am also the Honours Tutor for the latter course and the Senior Tutor for Empires (SCAN08010).

 I have also previously taught on a range of courses in various roles as Guest Lecturer, Senior Tutor, and Tutor for Social Anthropology 1A, Social Anthropology 1B, Empires, Ethnography: Theory and Practice, and The Invention of History. 

This year, I am also supervising MSc Dissertations in both Social Anthropology and International Development, and have supervised an MA Dissertation in Social Anthropology.

I am also an accredited Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a mentor for the Edinburgh Teaching Award (EdTA).


I passed my viva under the examination of Drs Katharine Tyler (Exeter), Robert Gibb (Glasgow) and Professor Jonathan Spencer (Edinburgh) with no corrections in January 2019.

My doctoral thesis, entitled Empire Circumscribed: Silence, Disconnection, Public Secrets, and the Absent-Presence of the British Empire in Bristol explores the ways in which history-workers and heritage volunteers understand, talk about, and represent histories of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade in present-day Bristol.  
Historically one of England's most significant ports, Bristol has had a complex relationship with its past as an epicentre of the transatlantic slave trade and metropolitan hub of Atlantic colonial trades throughout the 18th and 19th century.
This research tries to move past questions of whether or not the Empire was good or bad, and beyond the idea of the British Empire as "forgotten" or subject to "amnesia" to think about the ways in which the very concept of Empire is understood and reproduced in and through heritage discourse as disconnected, separate, and removed from both Britain and the present.

I am currently looking to develop this work into a monograph with the aim to submit a book proposal in Summer 2019.

As far as future research projects, I am looking to explore further opportunities to build off of my work on the politics of memory and history around colonialism/imperialism from a metropolitan/European perspective, while also moving more explicitly to ideas around race/ethnicity (in particular, whiteness), education, and personhood.

Publications Under Review:

2018    ‘Displacing Empire: Aphasia, “Trade”, and Histories of Empire in an English City, submitted to History and Anthropology

2019    ‘The Ghost of Edward Colston: Contested Materialities, Absent-Presence, and Productive Entanglements with the Past’ for Journal of Material Culture

Topics interested in supervising

As a fixed-term member of staff, I am not available for PhD Supervision.