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Alanna Cant

Dr Alanna Cant profile photo
  • Programme Director BA Archaeology & Anthropology
  • School Director of Recruitment and Admissions
  • Admissions Tutor, Archaeology


Room 12, Archaeology

Areas of interest

  • Material culture in the contemporary world
  • Heritage and cultural property
  • Aesthetics, art and artisanship
  • Religion, especially Roman Catholicism
  • Religious heritage and landscapes
  • England and Wales
  • Latin America and North America, especially Mexico
  • Ethnographic research methods and genres of writing

Postgraduate supervision

Alanna is happy to discuss proposals for postgraduate research that engages with ethnographic methods and the material world, but especially those focusing on artistic and cultural production, heritage and conservation, architecture and landscape, religion, identity and the contemporary uses of the past.

For further information please contact


Alanna teaches introductory and advanced courses in social anthropology. Her teaching focuses on the ways that the economics and politics of culture impact contemporary understandings of aesthetics, value, work, identity, religion and the past.

Research projects

Alanna is currently undertaking research on Roman Catholic Heritage in England and Wales, focusing on how it has been impacted by recent changes in the UK funding and policy sectors. This research is funded by the British Academy’s Innovation Fellowship (Route A). You can find out more on the UK Roman Catholic Heritage project website, or by emailing

Alanna has conducted two major ethnographic research projects in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her doctoral research The Practice of Aesthetics (funding provided by the Emslie Horniman Fund of the Royal Anthropological Institute) considered how Mexican artisans respond to changes in the local and international markets for Oaxacan woodcarvings.

The project resulted in six publications, including the 2019 monograph The Value of Aesthetics: Oaxacan Woodcarvers in Global Economies of Culture.

Her postdoctoral research project was entitled Restoration and Faith: Practicing Religion and Conservation in Mexico's Historic Churches (funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions). It investigated the political, aesthetic and ideological dynamics present in religious heritage sites through the lens of a ruined sixteenth century Christian (Dominican) monastery that is currently being restored by non-religious agencies, but which is also still used by the local Catholic community. You can read more about this on the Restoration and Faith Project website.


Alanna completed her PhD at the London School of Economics in 2012. Since then she has been a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oslo and the University of Kent, and a sessional lecturer at Martin Luther University – Halle Wittenberg and the University of Cambridge.

Alanna is co-convenor of the UK Network for the Anthropology of Christianity (UKNAC), as a part of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA).


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