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Lasse Hölck

Image Credit: Santiago Engelhardt

International Research Training Group 'Temporalities of Future in Latin America'

Dynamics of Aspiration and Anticipation

Postdoctoral Fellow

Project: "Change or Continuity? The Temporal Implications of Growth and the Avoidance of Growth in Culturally Heterogeneous Latin America"

Boltzmannstr. 4
14195 Berlin



PhD in History, Freie Universität Berlin


MA History/American Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin

 Work Experience

Since 05/2019

Postdoctoral Fellow, IRTG ‘Temporalities of Future’


Research assistant and lecturer, Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

05/2007 – 12/2017

Researcher, Collaborative Research Center 700 “Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood”, Freie Universität Berlin

Project: "Change or Continuity? The Temporal Implications of Growth and the Avoidance of Growth in Culturally Heterogeneous Latin America"

The project focusses on aspirations and anticipations of indigenous individuals and groups to offer a distinct view on non-Western understandings of the future. All indigenous societies, including foragers, took an interest in the future not only through divination and oracles predicting the outcomes of particular collective and individual actions like wars, marriages or harvests, but also by anticipation.

Storage of food, for example, was practiced most notably in complex agrarian societies, but to a lesser extent even in immediate-return economies of hunters and gatherers. Among foragers, risks and uncertainties were managed in kin groups monitored by sharing networks based on immediate and delayed reciprocity. Defectors ran the risk of collective sanction in the form of future denial of sharing. Though a seasonal exploitation of the environment implies a cyclical concept of time, indigenous groups of Latin America lived in a social environment composed by other foraging bands and agrarian groups. Frequent visits between neighbouring groups opened an additional temporal sphere, which did not necessarily follow a cyclical scheme.

With colonization, Spanish and Portuguese settlers moved into the margins and roaming territories, establishing stable settlements. These frontiers thus became subject to regular annual cycles of climate, but their natural and social resources were exploited by each resident group in overlapping, complementary or conflicting rhythms, according to their respective temporalities of social reproduction.

Similarly, anticipation of descendants and the biological aging of individuals is inherent to any human group’s concept of the future. Egalitarian groups, foragers and agriculturalists alike, anticipate fluctuations in the carrying capacity of their territories and adapt their societies to cope with the related risks and uncertainties. Seasonal movements, splitting up of resident groups or birth control are among the mechanisms which ensure an undisturbed continuation of social life. They will receive special interest within the project. Projections of the future, it is argued, do not necessarily emphasize a change of the current state of things, but instead its conservation through time. These slight modifications of external (movement of camps) or internal (population reduction) factors are understood as leveling modes to enable a common future by avoiding inappropriate growth.

Main Research Questions:

How does an emphasis either on continuity or on change shape the people’s anticipations and aspirations? What are the resulting differences in temporalities of future?


Hölck, Lasse (2014): Kampf um Vertrauen. Die Comcáac von Sonora (Mexiko) unter kolonialer und republikanischer Herrschaft, 1650- 1850, Stuttgart: Heinz Verlag


Contreras Saíz, Mónika; Hölck, Lasse; Rinke, Stefan (2014): Gobernanza y seguridad. La conquista republicana de las fronteras latinoamericanas en el siglo XIX, Stuttgart: Heinz Verlag

Rinke, Stefan; Contreras Saíz, Mónika; Hölck, Lasse (2011): Regieren an der Peripherie. Amerika zwischen Kolonien und unabhängigen Republiken, Stuttgart: Heinz Verlag

Chapters (selection)

Draude, Anke; Hölck, Lasse; Stolle, Dietlind (2018): "Social Trust", in: T. Risse, T. A. Börzel, A. Draude (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Governance and Limited Statehood, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Esders, Stefan; Hölck, Lasse; Rinke, Stefan (2018): "Histories of Governance", in: T. Risse, T. A. Börzel, A. Draude (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Governance and Limited Statehood, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Hölck, Lasse (2016): "Don Ernesto cuentaLos Comcáac de Sonora (México) entre la historia y la tradición oral", in: M. Contreras Saiz, T. Louis, S. Rinke (eds.), Memorias y conflicto. Memorias en conflicto, Stuttgart: Heinz Verlag, pp. 279-301

Hölck, Lasse (2011): "'Staatsfeinde': Die Seri und koloniale Herrschaft in Sonora (Mexiko)", in: S. Rinke, M. Contreras Saiz & L. Hölck (eds.), Regieren an der PeripherieAmerika zwischen Kolonien und unabhängigen Republiken, Stuttgart: Heinz Verlag, pp. 47- 86

Articles (selection)

Hölck, Lasse (2018): "Culinary Colonialism. The Case of the Comcáac (Seris) of Sonora (Mexico)", Food & History 16, 1: 

Hölck, Lasse (2018): "An den Grenzen der Vernunft: Beamte und 'Barbaren' in den Peripherien Lateinamerikas, 18.– 19. Jahrhundert", Administory 3 ("Emotionen und Bürokratie"):

Hölck, Lasse (2016): "A Struggle for Trust. The Comcáac (Seris) of Sonora under Colonial and Republican Rule, 1650–1850", Ethnohistory 63, 4:645-669

Hölck, Lasse; Rinke, Stefan (2016): "Loyalität in Übersee. Legitimierung von Herrschaft in den Peripherien des Spanischen Weltreiches, 16.-19. Jahrhundert", Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 42, 4:574-591

Hölck, Lasse; Contreras Saiz, Mónika (2010): "Educating Bárbaros. Educational Policies on the Latin American Frontiers between Colonies and Independent Republics (Araucania, Southern Chile/Sonora, Mexico)", Paedagogica Historica, 46:435–448

Hölck, Lasse (2008): "Los Seris Tiburones y el gobierno de Sonora. Dos casos de inclusión jurídica, 1773 y 1831", Peninsula 3, 2:127-147

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