Curriculum Vitae

Patrice Ladwig studied social anthropology and sociology, and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. He worked at the University of Bristol, the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, and was Visiting Professor at the University of Zürich and the University of Hamburg. His work focuses on the anthropology of Buddhism (Laos and Thailand), death and funeral cultures, colonialism, the link of religion to communist movements, and general social theory. At the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, he was First Principal Investigator in a project on Buddhist law funded by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation in Buddhist Studies. Since 2018, he has carried out research on economic modernization, religion, and ethics in the context of the Max Planck-Cambridge Centre for the Study of Ethics, Human Economy, and Social Change.

Research projects



Ladwig, P., Tran-Minh, M., & Souphapone, L. (2005). Environmental Activity Manual for Monks and Teachers in Primary Schools. Vientiane, Laos: Buddhism for Development Project/ World Bank.

Ladwig, P. (2005). Short dictionary of religious and Buddhist terms Lao-English. Luang Prabang, Laos: The Quiet in the Land, Ministry of Information and Culture.

Ladwig, P. (2003). Death rituals among the Lao: an ethnological analysis. Berlin: SEACOM Edition.

Collected Editions

Ladwig, P., & Roque, R. (Eds.). (2020). States of imitation: mimetic governmentality and colonial rule. New York: Berghahn.

Williams, P., & Ladwig, P. (Eds.). (2012). Buddhist funeral cultures of Southeast Asia and China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Ladwig, P., & Roque, R. (Eds.). (2018). States of imitation: mimetic governmentality and colonial rule [Special Issue]. Social Analysis, 62 (2). Link

Ladwig, P., & Sihlé, N. (Eds.). (2017). [Special Section:] Toward a comparative Anthropology of Buddhism [Special Issue]. Religion and Society: Advances in Research, 8 (1). Link

Contribution to a Collected Edition

Ladwig, P. (2021). Out of correspondence: Death, dark ethnography and the need for temporal alienation and objectification. In I. Ahmad (Ed.), Anthropology and Ethnography are Not Equivalent: Reorienting Anthropology for the Future. New York: Berghahn.

Ladwig, P. (2020). Mimetic primitivism: Notes on the conceptual history of mimesis. In P. Ladwig, & R. Roque (Eds.), States of imitation: mimetic governmentality and colonial rule. New York: Berghahn.

Ladwig, P. (2020). Imitations of Buddhist Statecraft: The Patronage of Lao Buddhism and the Reconstruction of Relic Shrines and Temples in Colonial French Indochina. In Ladwig, P. & Roque, R. (Eds.). States of Imitation. Mimetic Governmentality and Colonial Rule (pp. 169-199). New York/Oxford: Berghahn.

Ladwig, P., & Roque, R. (2020). Postscript. The Risks and Failures of Imitation. In P. Ladwig, & R. Roque (Eds.), States of Imitation. Mimetic Governmentality and Colonial Rule (pp. 200-205). New York/Oxford: Berghahn.

Ladwig, P. (2018). The indianization and localization of textual imaginaries: Theravada Buddhist statecraft in Mainland Southeast Asia and Laos in the context of civilizational analysis. In J. P. Arnason, & C. Hann (Eds.), Anthropology and Civilizational Analysis: Eurasian Explorations (pp. 155-192). Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Link

Ladwig, P. (2017). Buddhism in contemporary Laos: Ruptured histories. In M. Jerryson (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of contemporary Buddhism (pp. 274-295). New York: Oxford University Press. Link

Ladwig, P. (2017). Mimetic theories, representation, and “Savages”: Critiques of the enlightenment and modernity through the lens of primitive mimesis. In C. Forberg, & P. Stockhammer (Eds.), The transformative power of the copy: a transcultural and interdisciplinary approach (pp. 37-66). Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing. Link

Ladwig, P. (2017). ‘Special operation pagoda’. Buddhism, covert operations and the politics of religious subversion in Cold War Laos. In V. Bouté, & V. Pholsena (Eds.), Changing Lives in Laos: Society, Politics and Culture in a Post-Socialist State (pp. 81-108). Singapore: Singapore University Press. Link

Ladwig, P. (2016). Emotions and narrative: Excessive giving and ethical ambivalence in the Lao Vessantara Jataka. In S. Collins (Ed.), Readings of the Vessantara Jataka (pp. 53-80). New York: Columbia University Press. Link

Ladwig, P. (2016). Religious place making: Civilized modernity and the spread of Buddhism among the Cheng, a Mon-Khmer minority in southern Laos. In M. Dickhardt, & A. Lauser (Eds.), Religion, place and modernity (pp. 95-124). Leiden: Brill. Link

Ladwig, P. (2014). The Mobile Phone Monk. In E. Harms, & J. Lindquist (Eds.), Figures of Southeast Asian modernity (pp. 97-99). Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press.

Ladwig, P. (2013). Schools, Ritual Economies, and the Expanding State: The Changing Roles of Lao Buddhist Monks as “Traditional Intellectuals”. In J. Whalen-Bridge, & P. Kitiarsa (Eds.), Buddhism, modernity, and the state in Asia: forms of engagement (pp. 63-91). New York: Palgrave.

Ladwig, P. (2012). Feeding the dead: ghosts, materiality and merit in a Lao Buddhist festival for the deceased. In P. Williams, & P. Ladwig (Eds.), Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China (pp. 119-141). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ladwig, P., & Williams, P. (2012). Introduction: Buddhist funeral cultures. In P. Williams, & P. Ladwig (Eds.), Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China (pp. 1-21). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ladwig, P. (2011). Can things reach the dead? The ontological status of objects and the study of Lao Buddhist ghost festivals. In K. W. Endres, & a. Lauser (Eds.), Engaging the spirit world in modern Southeast Asia (pp. 19-41). New York: Berghahn Books.

Ladwig, P. (2008). Between cultural preservation and this-worldly commitment: Modernization, social activism and the Lao Buddhist sangha. In d.-O. École française, M. Lorrillard, & Y. Goudineau (Eds.), Recherches nouvelles sur le Laos =: New research on Laos (pp. 465-490). Vientiane: École française dʹ Extrême-Orient.

Journal Articles

Ladwig, P., & Reichert, N. (2020). Ritual insecurity, liminality and identity. Differing migration trajectories and their impact on Buddhist rituals in a Lao migrant community in Berlin. Journal of Ritual Studies, 34(1), 1-16.

Ladwig, P. (2018). Governing the monastic order in Laos. Pre-modern Buddhist legal traditions and their transformation under French colonialism. Buddhism, Law & Society, 3(2017-2018), 191-242. Link

Ladwig, P. (2018). Imitations of Buddhist statecraft: The patronage of Lao Buddhism and the reconstruction of relic shrines and temples in colonial French Indochina. Social Analysis, 62(2), 98-125. Link

Ladwig, P., & Roque, R. (2018). Introduction: Mimetic governmentality and colonial rule. Social Analysis, 62(2), 1-27. Link

Ladwig, P., & Sihlé, N. (2017). Introduction: Legacies, trajectories, and comparison in the Anthropology of Buddhism. Religion and Society, 8(1), 109-128.

Ladwig, P. (2015). Worshipping Relics and Animating Statues. Transformations of Buddhist statecraft in contemporary Laos. Modern Asian Studies, 49(6), 1875-1902. Link

Ladwig, P. (2014). Millennialism, Charisma and Utopia: Revolutionary Potentialities in Pre-modern Lao and Thai Theravāda Buddhism. Politics, Religion Ideology, 15(2), 308-329. Link

Ladwig, P. (2013). Haunting the State: Rumours, Spectral Apparitions and the Longing for Buddhist Charisma in Laos. Asian Studies Review, 37(4), 509-526. Link

Ladwig, P., Roque, R., Bastos, Tappe, & Kohl (2012). Fieldwork Between Folders: fragments, traces, and the ruins of colonialarchives. Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Working Papers, 141.

Ladwig, P. (2012). Ontology, materiality and spectral traces: Methodological thoughts on studying Lao Buddhist festivals for ghosts and ancestral spirits. Anthropological Theory, 12(4), 427-447. Link

Ladwig, P. (2012). Visitors from hell: transformative hospitality to ghosts in a Lao Buddhist festival. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 18, S90-S102. Link

Ladwig, P. (2011). The Genesis and Demarcation of the Religious Field: Monasteries, State Schools, and the Secular Sphere in Lao Buddhism (1893-1975). Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, 26(2), 196-222. Link

Ladwig, P. (2009). Prediger der Revolution: Der buddhistische Klerus und seine Verbindungen zur Kommunistischen Bewegung in Laos. Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2009, 15, 181-197.

Ladwig, P. (2006). Applying the Dhamma to contemporary society: Socially engaged Buddhism and development work in Lao PDR. Juth Pakai. UNDP Development Journal, 7, 16-27.

Ladwig, P. (2003). Review of: The funeral casino: meditation, massacre, and exchange with the dead in Thailand. Journal of Buddhist Ethics, 10, 72-76.

Ladwig, P. (2002). The mimetic ‘representation’ of the dead and social space among the Buddhist Lao. Tai Culture, 7(2), 120-134.

Ladwig, P. (2000). Relics, ‘representation’ and power. Some remarks on stupas containing relics of the Buddha in Laos. Tai Culture, 5(1), 70-84.


Ladwig, P. (2019). Blog post: Buddhism, booming businesses and the ritual economy in urban Laos (fieldwork note & vignette). Link

Kourilsky, G., & Ladwig, P. (2013). Caring for the Beyond Two Buddhist Festivals for the Deceased (Film). University of Bristol. Link Vimeo Link

Ladwig, P., Chainon, M., & Chatchai, S. (2008). ‘The last friend of the corpse’. Buddhist Funerals, Crematoria and Morticians in Chiang Mai (Film). Black Monkey Studio. Vimeo Link

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