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Research Assistant Professor

(852) 3917-8112

Dr. Joseba Estévez is a social anthropologist and an incoming Research Assistant Professor at the “Asian Religious Connections” cluster, Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HKIHSS), The University of Hong Kong. He defended his PhD thesis Conquering Demons, Taming the Forest: The ritual roles of the Lanten Priests and Masters at the Institute of Ethnology of the University of Münster, Germany. His regional specialisation is mainland South-East Asia, where he conducted long-term social anthropological fieldwork from 2010 to 2020 on the roles of the Lanten (Yao Mun) rituals experts in Luang Namtha Province, Laos.

His research interests include ritual, cosmology, exchange, social morphology and social transformation, the comparison of ideologies, animism, Buddhism, Chinese religion and Daoism.

He is the initiator and director of the projects “A Digital Library of the Lanten Textual Heritage”, funded by the British Library's Endangered Archive Programme (2015 – 2020), and “The Lanten Oral Stories”, funded by BEQUAL-Laos, the European Union and Australian Aid (2017 – 2020). He has co-produced (with Creative Seven Arts) two anthropological films about the Lanten society in Laos directed by Peter Livermore.

Currently, he leads the YAO DAO Project and is part of the academic endeavour Global China Local Cultures (a new phase of BRINFAITH) of the Asian Religious Connections cluster of the HKIHSS.


In addition, in cooperation with the University of Hamburg, he participates in the Cluster of Excellence “Understanding Written Artefacts” (2019-2025) with the Lanten case. In cooperation with the National University of Singapore, within the framework “Singapore Smart City and ASEAN Smart City Network” (2023-2025), he is studying the Smart Cities in Nateuy and Namor in North Laos, promoted by the Thai-Japanese AMATA Group, and the Songkhla-Chana Smart City project in South Thailand. Another cooperation with The Shanghai New York University (project leader with Adele Maria Carrai) is developing an atlas of the Chinese “One Belt One Road Initiative” and the impact of Global China, focusing on mapping and generating data visualisations by combining data mining and infographics.

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