Latest publications

Pelican, Michaela and Sofie Steinberger (eds.). 2017.
Melilla. Perspectives on a Border Town.

Kölner Arbeitspapiere zur Ethnologie 6. Institut für Ethnologie, Universität zu Köln.

Free Open Access E-Book (useful for teaching)
via Transcript Website

University of Cologne Forum "Ethnicity as a Political Resource" (ed.). 2015.
ETHNICITY AS A POLITICAL RESOURCE: Conceptualizations across Disciplines, Regions, and Periods. Bielefeld: Transcript.
Open Access E-Book

Podcast series "Research, Action & Art"
Project of the departments of Anthropology and Islamic Studies,
University of Cologne
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Short Biography

Michaela Pelican is Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Cologne. She is also a principal investigator in the Thematic Research Area I 'Migration, Citizenship and Labour' of the Global South Studies Center Cologne (GSSC), and was previously the director of the University of Cologne Forum "Ethnicity as a Political Resource: Perspectives from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe" (2013-16). Before coming to Cologne, she was a lecturer at the University of Zurich and a researcher with the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale. She received her PhD from the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and her MA from the University of Bayreuth.

Her current focus is on South-South mobility and migrant transnationalism, and involves research in Cameroon, Gabon, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Concurrently, she is working on indigeneity in Africa, a topic that emerged from her previous research on interethnic relations and identity politics in Cameroon. Moreover, she has a strong interest in visual and media anthropology, and has been using methods of visual and theatre anthropology throughout her research.

In her teaching she concentrates on research methodology, political and social anthropology, anthropology of religion, and the anthropology of Africa. She has published on Fulbe agro-pastoral economy, farmer-herder relations, interethnic friendship, witchcraft, citizenship and indigenous rights, migrant transnationalism, and Fulbe mobility.

Research Interests

Regional expertise

  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Cameroon, Gabon, South Africa
  • United Arab Emirates, China
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