Marina Welker

Associate Professor


My research interests include Southeast Asia, capitalism, commodities, corporations, international development, extractive industries, and tobacco.

My second book is a commodity-centered ethnographic account of Sampoerna, an Indonesian subsidiary of Philip Morris International. Entitled Kretek Capitalism: Making, Marketing, and Consuming Clove Cigarettes in Indonesia, the project follows the social and material trajectory of Sampoerna cigarettes from tobacco and clove seeds to smoke and ash, tracing (1) the subjective experience of farmers, factory workers, marketers, retailers, and smokers whose life worlds are entangled with the commodity; and (2) Sampoerna’s strategies for collecting detailed knowledge about and mobilizing the people, plants, and things that together constitute the kretek economy.

My first book, Enacting the Corporation: An American Mining Firm in Postauthoritarian Indonesia (University of California Press, 2014), applied anthropological theories of personhood and social studies of the state to the corporation, and was based on two years of ethnographic research on a Denver-based gold mining firm, its Indonesian operation, and the Corporate Social Responsibility industry.

I have published articles in American Ethnologist, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Cultural Anthropology, Current AnthropologyJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and the Seattle University Law Review. My research has been supported by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, Social Science Research Council, Wenner-Gren, National Science Foundation, Fulbright IIE, and Fulbright-Hays.

Courses I have taught include Cigarette CulturesEconomy, Power, and Inequality; Cultural Diversity and Contemporary Issues; Ethnographies of Development; The CorporationPower, Culture, and Society in Southeast Asia; and Risk Work.



2024. Kretek Capitalism: Making, Marketing, and Consuming Clove Cigarettes in Indonesia. Oakland: University of California Press.

2014 Enacting the Corporation: An American Mining Firm in Post-authoritarian Indonesia. Berkeley: University of California Press.


2024 Indonesia's Killer Commodity. New Mandala May 21. 

2024 Netflix’s ‘Cigarette Girl’ Promotes Big Tobacco Interests in Indonesia. Inside Indonesia.(Jan-Mar).

2021     Indonesia’s Cigarette Culture Wars: Contesting Tobacco Regulations in the Postcolony. Comparative Studies in Society and History 63(4):911-947Welker_2021_CigCultureWars_CSSH

2018   The Architecture of Cigarette Circulation: Marketing Work on Indonesia’s Retail Infrastructure. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 24(4):669-691.

2017    Articulating and disarticulating corporation and community. In The Corporation: A Critical, Multidisciplinary Handbook, pp. 449-56. André Spicer and Grietje Baars, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2016    Notes on the Difficulty of Studying the Corporation. Seattle University Law Review 39: 397-422.

2016    No Ethnographic Playground: Mining Projects and Anthropological Politics. Book review essay in Comparative Studies in Society and History 58(2): 577-586.

2014    Anthropology After the New Order. In Producing Indonesia: The State of Indonesian Studies, pp. 19-23. Eric Tagliacozzo, ed. Ithaca: Southeast Asia Publications, Cornell University.

2012    The Green Revolution’s Ghost: Unruly Subjects of Participatory Development in Rural Indonesia. American Ethnologist 39(2): 389-406.

2011    Corporate Lives: New Perspectives on the Social Life of the Corporate Form. Introduction to Special Issue in Current Anthropology.  Marina Welker, Damani Partridge, Rebecca Hardin, eds. 52(S3): S3-S16.

2011   Shareholder Activism and Alienation. Current Anthropology. Marina Welker and David Wood. 52(S3): S57-S69.

2009    “Corporate Security Begins in the Community:” Mining, the Corporate Social Responsibility Industry, and Environmental Advocacy in Indonesia. Cultural Anthropology 24(1):142-179.