Dr. Jacob Nerenberg

Affiliated Researcher

Regional focus: Southeast Asia, Oceania
Dr. Jacob Nerenberg
Dr. Jacob Nerenberg


01/2020 - 06/2023
Research Fellow, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient
03/2018 - 12/2019
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Anthropology, York University


Ph.D., Anthropology (socio-cultural), University of Toronto
M.A., Anthropology (socio-cultural), University of Toronto
B. Eng., Mechanical Engineering, McGill University


Book Reviews

2013: Review EssayFreedom in Entangled Worlds: West Papua and the Architecture of Global Power (Eben Kirksey) and Laughing at Leviathan: Sovereignty and Audience in West Papua (Danilyn Rutherford). The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 14(5): 486–95.

Web-Based Publications

2020: “Blocking the Pandemic: Boundary Controls in Indonesia’s Far East”. Medizinethnologie, #Witnessing Corona. May 21.

Conference Organization

2022: “Governance of Labour and the Elusive Home Market”, Biennial conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, Belfast, July 26-29. (With Alina-Sandra Cucu).

2021-2022: “Political Economies of Original Inhabitation”. ZMO-Colloquium Winter Series.

2021: “Baby or Bathwater? Conflations of Development and Underdevelopment in Historical and Materialist Perspective”. Annual conference of the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development, Edmonton, June 4.

2017: “20 Years after Krismon: Indonesia’s Economic Change in the Aftermath of Financial Aggression”. (Roundtable). Biennial Conference of the Canadian Council of Southeast Asian StudiesYork University, Oct. 28.


Invited Talks

2022: “Une concurrence impossible : Entrepreneuriat autochtone, autonomie et développement en Papouasie, Indonésie”. Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l’Océanie, Marseille, Mar. 11.

2021: “Devancer la crise: Vers une industrialisation à base de minéraux en Indonésie?”. Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin, Nov. 11.

Other Talks (Selection)

2021: “Forestalling Crisis: Mining, Metals, and Resource-Based Industrialization in Eastern Indonesia”. Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Sept. 17.

2020: “’Who Can Compete?’: Debating the Possibility of Indigenous Enterprise in Papua, Indonesia”. Berlin Anthropology Seminar, Freie Universität Berlin, Dec. 16.

2017: “Regulating the Terminal Economy: Difference, Disruption, and Governance in a Papuan Commercial Hub”. Centre for Ethnography, University of Toronto Scarborough, Oct. 19.

2017: “The Playlist”. Ethnography Lab, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Mar. 23.

2017: “Displaced Youth and the Labour of Logistics in West Papua’s Terminal Economy”. Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto, Jan. 19.


2017: “Visible and Invisible: Infrastructure and Politics of Cohabitation”. Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, May 8.


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Société et Culture
Fellowship in Ethnographic Writing, Centre for Ethnography, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto at Scarborough
2016 - 2017
Chancellor Jackman Graduate Fellowship, Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto
2014 - 2015
Doctoral Scholarship, Fonds Québécois de Recherche – Société et Culture
2014 - 2015
Doctoral Research Award, International Development Research Centre (Canada)
2013 - 2014
Doctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada)


University of Toronto Faculty Association Al Miller Memorial Award
Sylvia Forman Prize, Association for Feminist Anthropology, American Anthropological Association



2018: Anthropology of Markets (Topics in Emerging Scholarship, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Toronto)

Research Supervision:

2022: Supervisor to Visiting PhD Student Researcher from Dept. of Anthropology, Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia), at ZMO

Field Course Teaching:

2011: Course Coordinator, University of Toronto and Universitas Gadjah Mada, Independent Experiential Study Project

2010: Course Assistant, University of Toronto and Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia Independent Field Research Course

Professional Service

  • Article review, International Journal of Human Rights; Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute; Dialectical Anthropology; American Ethnologist; Oceania; Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-en Volkenkunde (Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of
  • Founding member, Ethnography Lab – Infrastructures Group (Dept. of Anthropology, University of Toronto), 2014-2018
  • Organizing committee member, Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (Asian Institute, University of Toronto), 2016-2017
  • Coordinator, Development Seminar (Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto), 2015-2016

Other Research Positions

Coordinator, Kensington Market Research Project, Ethnography Lab, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto
2013 - 2014
Research Consultant, Center for Effective Global Action, University of California, Berkeley


  • English: fluent
  • French: fluent
  • Indonesian: fluent
  • Spanish: intermediate
  • German: basic
  • Grand Valley Dani: conversational


  • Association for the Anthropology of Social Change and Development (France)
  • Canadian Anthropology Society
  • Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies
  • European Association of Social Anthropologists