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Alan Klima


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Princeton University, 1996
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of Chicago, 1988
  • B.A., Anthropology, Rutgers University, 1987


Currently Alan Klima’s research concerns the formation of “global moralities” and their political effects as they are furthered in and through local and national communities. In particular, he is concerned with the local application of global moralities of finance, including ideas and practices of debt, reason, and haunting in Thailand since the currency crash of 1997. His film Ghosts and Numbers and current ethnographic writing project, titled The Nextworld, concern local money-lending, gambling, and other irregular financial instruments among small-time local organizations in Thailand, including spirit-mediumship and other religious phenomena connected with money. He is also exploring what he calls "The Meditation Machine," a social biofeedback mechanism in which meditation practice is being reformulated in cultures of biomedicine and education.

Research Focus

Professor Klima’s research has concerned pro-democracy activism in Thailand, military massacre, and the representation of death in Buddhism, public media and political ritual.

Selected Publications

  • Klima, A. (2019) Ethnography # 9. Durham: Duke University Presshttps://www.dukeupress.edu/ethnography-9
  • Klima, A. (2010) Ghosts and Numbers. Documentary Educational Resources: 68 min. (Director, Cinematographer, Writer) http://www.der.org/films/ghosts-and-numbers.html
  • Klima, A. (2007) Ghosts, numbers, and the real, in Ghost Entertainment –titled: Magazine for the International Exhibit, Goethe Institute: 21-26.
  • Klima, A. (2006) Spirits of “dark finance”: A local hazard for the international moral fund, Cultural Dynamics 18(1): 33-60.
  • Klima, A. (2004) Thai love Thai: Financing emotion in post-crash Thailand, Ethnos 69(4):445-464.
  • Klima, A. (2002) The Funeral Casino: Meditation, Massacre, and Exchange with the Dead in Thailand. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Klima, A. (2001) The telegraphic abject: Buddhist meditation and the redemption of mechanical reproduction. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 43(3):552-582.