Asian Studies Program Director - Instructor, Asian Studies Program
Center for Asian Studies


Ph.D., Stanford University (Anthropology) 
M.Phil., University of Cambridge (Archaeology)
B.A., Harvard University (History) 

Regional and Thematic Interests 

Cultural heritage  
Memory politics 
Museums and public history 
Cities and urbanism  
Colonial and postcolonial Southeast Asia 
Indonesia, Java 


Lauren is an anthropologist/archaeologist fascinated by the question of how present-day communities remember, preserve, and contest their past. Since 2012, she has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Indonesia exploring cultural heritage, memory politics, and postcolonial urbanism in Jakarta and Semarang, which forms the basis of her book manuscript, “Colonial Pasts, Future Cities: Urban Heritage Advocacy in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia." This research reveals how a growing number of government- and community-led initiatives aimed at preserving the country’s colonial-era sites as “urban heritage” are not only shaping the material fabric of neighborhoods now designated as historic districts, but also producing new forms of citizenship and governance, re-negotiating the relationship between civil society and state authority, and profoundly impacting the lives of the urban underclasses. Lauren is currently developing a new digital ethnography project that will explore how young heritage activists and history enthusiasts in Indonesia build their movements through creative engagement with both the virtual space of social media and the physical environment of their cities. In addition to this work, Lauren has conducted research and taught courses on topics like cultural diplomacy, museum theory and politics, material culture studies, community engaged scholarship, and the political (mis)uses of archaeology in colonial and postcolonial Southeast Asia. Having lived in the Bay Area, Rhode Island, and coastal Java before moving to Boulder, she misses the ocean but is quickly falling in love with the mountains of Colorado.   

Selected Publications 

2020. “The Future in the Past: Colonial Modernity as Urban Heritage in Contemporary Indonesia.” South East Asia Research 28 (2): 178-198.  

2020. “To Help or Make Chaos? An ethnography of Dutch expertise in postcolonial Indonesia.” In: Heritage as Aid and Diplomacy in Asia. Eds. Philippe Peycam, Shu-Li Wang and Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao. ISEAS Publishing, Singapore, pp. 143-166.  

2016. “Define 'Mutual': Heritage Diplomacy in the Postcolonial Netherlands”. Future Anterior 13(1): 66-81.