School of Social and Political Science

Nicole Anderson

Job Title

PhD Candidate in Social Anthropology

Research interests

Research interests

Critical museology, provenance research, repatriation, anti-colonial pedagogies, care ethics, politics of emotion, affect theory, critical archival studies. 


I am an ethnographer and provenance researcher who is researching what justice would look like for First Nations and Inuit ancestral remains in Edinburgh University's Anatomical Museum. My research is allowing the museum to pursue a proactive approach to repatriation, thereby changing traditional reactive practices. I am currently working to affiliate ancestors held in the Museum in order to share knowledge about their existence in Edinburgh to descendant communities. I am also committed in researching how to share knowledge in a careful, 'humanised' way, considering how colonial violence and harm is replicated in engagement with archival documents. 


Ethnography: Theory and Practice, 2023, 2024
The Invention of History, 2022
Social Anthropology Key Concepts, 2021
Empires, 2021

Received EUSA Teaching Award Nomination 2021, 2022, 2023. 


PhD in Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh - ESRC funded 

MSc by Research in Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh (with Distinction) - ESRC funded

MA in Social Justice Education, University of Toronto (GPA 4.0) - funded through Graduate Student Research Fellowship 

MA in Social Anthropology, University of Edinbugh (with first-class Honours)

Selected Peer Reviewed Publications

Anderson, N. 2025 (forthcoming) "Working with Discomfort: Moving Through Ambivalence with Care and Accountability". In Emejulu, A., Kustatscher, M. and McGregor, C. (eds.) Ambivalent Activism: Working with Contradiction, Hesitation and Doubt for Social Change, Bristol University Press.

Anderson, N. 2024 (forthcoming) "Care, Hesitancy And Uncertain Knowledge: Seeking Restorative Justice For Ancestors In Edinburgh University’s Anatomical Museum". In Journal of Museum Ethnography 37. 

Anderson, N. 2024 (forthcoming) "Human Rights for Human Remains: How International Frameworks Facilitate Transnational Knowledge Production". In Bakan, A. and Abu-Laban, Y. (eds.) The Paradox of the United Nations: Promises and Challenges for Human Rights, University of Toronto Press.

Anderson, N., Lowe, T. Patsiarika, A. 2022. "Introduction to Postgraduate Pedagogies". In Postgraduate Pedagogies 2(1): 12-30.

Anderson, N. 2020. “Contested Objects: Uncovering Edinburgh University’s Anatomical Museum’s Colonial Past”. In Journal of Museum Ethnography 32, 44-58. 

Anderson, N. 2019. “Coming to One’s Senses: Decolonising Artefacts at the Museum of Anthropology”. In re:think Journal of Creative Ethnography 2(1), 59-75.

Anderson, N. 2018. “Can We Touch the Past? The Sensory Experience of a Black Leather Ball”. In re:think Journal of Creative Ethnography 1(1), 2-6.

Conferences and Presentations 

Anderson, N. “Care, Hesitancy and Uncertain Knowledge: Seeking Restorative Justice for Ancestors in Edinburgh University’s Anatomical Museum”. 18-19 April 2023. Museum Ethnographer’s Group Conference, University of Cambridge.

Anderson, N. “Working with Discomfort: Contesting Ambivalence through Care and Accountability in Edinburgh University’s “Skull Room””. 9th September 2022. Ambivalent Activism seminar series [online], organised by Prof. Akwugo Emejulu, University of Warwick, Dr. Marlies Kustatscher, University of Edinburgh and Dr. Callum McGregor, University of Edinburgh.

Anderson, N. “Instigating Accountable Relations in the “Skull Room”: Seeking Restorative Justice for Indigenous Human Remains at Edinburgh University”. 14th June 2022. Canadian Anthropology Society Conference [online].

Anderson, N. “Human Remains, Human Rights: How International Frameworks Facilitate Knowledge Production Trans-nationally”. 7th June 2021. Canadian Political Science Association Conference [online].

Anderson, N. “Capturing Affect: The Agentic Power Of The Colonial Photograph As A Form Of Visual Testimony”. 7th March 2021. Taking Stock & (Re)Imagining the Futures of Education. Ontario Institute Studies for Education Graduate Research Conference [online].

Anderson, N. “Contested Objects: Uncovering Edinburgh University’s Anatomical Museum’s Colonial Past”. 22nd April 2019. Trust, harm and ethnographic displays. Museum Ethnographer’s Group Conference, Horniman Museum, London, UK.

Anderson, N., Arnarsdóttir, H. Anstock, C. “re:think Journal of Ethnography and Open Access Data”. 6th July 2018. Repository Fringe Conference, Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Anderson, N. “Decolonising Visitor Encounters”. 13th April 2018. Decolonising the Ethnographic Museum, Museum Ethnographer’s Group, Pitt River’s Museum, University of Oxford.

Works within