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Latest publication: Pieke, Frank, Björn Ahl, Elena Barabantseva, Michaela Pelican, Tabitha Speelman, Wang Feng, and Xiang Biao. 2019. How immigration is shaping Chinese society. MERICS China Monitor, 27.11.2019.
Exhibition: China Migrant: Photographs and short films by Daniel Traub. IN-EAST Institute of East Asian Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen, November 2019 ‒ March 2020. Curators: Birgit Mersmann, Michaela Pelican, Daniel Traub.

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 Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Cologne and Principal Investigator of the Global South Studies Center Cologne (GSSC). Previously, she was 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, guest professor at the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies in Kyoto, 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.

Michaela’s main areas of research and teaching are South-South/East migration and transnationalism; ethnicity and indigeneity; research methodology and audio-visual anthropology. Her regional specialization is in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular Cameroon, Gabon, and South Africa. In recent years, she has also conducted research in the Arab Gulf States and southern China, as she is interested in the strengthening relations and transnational mobilities between Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. In addition, she has engaged in interdisciplinary collaborations with colleagues in Africa, Asia, Latin America, USA, and Europe. At the University of Cologne she has been in charge of the Department’s focus on research methodology, and has developed several research-oriented teaching programmes.

Research Interests

Regional expertise

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