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Photo of Dr Douglas Farrer

Dr Douglas Farrer

Lecturer in Criminology

My research and teaching are focussed on the interstices of criminology, sociology, and anthropology. Currently I am doing research in narrative criminology for a project on crime scene photography. This is based upon 36-months ethnographic research with law enforcement personnel on Guam. My other research includes projects on Islamic art, resistance, and dreams. Previously I conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Singapore and Malaysia with Sufi mystics, martial arts practitioners, and traditional healers. Co-founder of Martial Arts Studies I have authored publications on Brazilian jiu-jitsu, kung fu, and silat. My fieldwork includes research in Southeast Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand) and Micronesia (Palau, Guam, and Yap).

Research group links

Research interests

  • Crime scene photography
  • Narrative criminology
  • Visual anthropology
  • Resistance 
  • Anthropology of dreams
  • Witchcraft
  • Martial arts
  • Martialité



I took BA Social Science (Sociology Track) at Middlesex University, followed by MA Social and Political Thought at Sussex University. At the National University of Singapore I completed a doctorate in Anthropology with a dissertation on Malay mysticism. This was published as Shadows of the Prophet: Martial Arts and Sufi Mysticism. I have also edited volumes on Martial Arts as Embodied Knowledge, and War Magic. Trained in martial arts since the age of eight I have been awarded three black belts. Currently I am learning Brazillian jiu-jitsu and Ashtanga yoga. Because my research intersects with the anthropology of peformance and performance studies, I am also Affiliate Professor of Theatre at the University of Ottawa. Co-teaching fieldschools in underwater archaeology on Guam I became a rescue diver. 

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