Reference code: SFB1171-A06-PreDoc1-E

For some time now, there have been highly visible controversial debates on the legal and political status of ethnographic collections, which have come to German museums in colonial times. These debates are focused on the question of property: Whom do the ethnographic objects belong to? The Project A-06 “Contested Property: The affective and emotional grounding of transcultural normative conflicts regarding ethnographic collections in the Humboldt Forum” investigates these property conflicts by focusing on the objects of the Tanzania collection of the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin — some of which will be shown in the Humboldt Forum. Two entangled research questions provide the framework for this investigation. First: In what way can we better understand the property conflicts regarding ethnographic collections when we describe them as dynamics which emerge in the context of competing repertoires of emotion and affective arrangements? Second: How is property (as both the central concept and practice in the post-/colonial museum) being transformed inside these conflictual dynamics? By including emic perspectives on human-thing-relationships in southern Tanzania this project wants to understand whose property conceptions, repertoires of emotion and identity politics shape these conflictual transformations and how.

Job description
In the framework of the project A-06 the doctoral researcher will conduct an autonomous sub-project on human-thing-relationships in southern Tanzania, which will include several months of ethnographic fieldwork. The doctoral researcher will work together with the other members of the project A-06 on the common research questions, which will include the collaboration on workshops and co-authored publications. The work on the project entails the opportunity to to earn a PhD degree at the Freie Universität Berlin.

A master’s degree (or equivalent) in sociocultural anthropology or a related discipline.

– Very good language skills in English.
– Language skills in German and Swahili
– Regional expertise in East Africa, particularly Tanzania.
– Experience with ethnographic research.
– Good knowledge in anthropological methods and theories.
– Interest in one or more of the following fields of research: legal anthropology, anthropology of material culture, ethnographic museums, anthropology of affect and emotion, postcolonial theories.

Applicants should send in a Curriculum Vitae, a letter of motivation (max. 2 pages) as well as a writing sample (max. 5.000 words, e.g. a chapter of the master’s theses, a term paper or the like).

More information requested by Dr. Jonas Bens ( / +49 30 838 59310).

All application quoting the reference code should be addressed as an e-mail to Dr. Paola Ivanov: or postal to:

Freie Universität Berlin
Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften
SFB 1171: Affective Societies
Frau Dr. Paola Ivanov
Habelschwerdter Allee 45
14195 Berlin

For more information, please visit the website.


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