Curriculum Vitae

Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Cologne
The Rector's Representative for International Affairs
Speaker of the Global South Studies Center Cologne (GSSC)


2023-presentDirector of the international research cluster 'Conflict-Induced Displacement and Socio-Economic Resilience: Learning From Neglected Conflicts in Cameroon and Myanmar’
2022-presentPrincipal Investigator in the DFG research unit 5183 'Transborder Mobility and Institutional Dynamics'
2020-presentSpeaker and Coordinator of the international research unit 'The production and reproduction of social inequalities: Global contexts and concepts of labour exploitation'
2019-presentElected Senator for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Cologne
2018-presentProfessor of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Cologne
2015-presentPrincipal Investigator of the Global South Studies Center Cologne (GSSC)
2013-2017Director of the University of Cologne Forum 'Ethnicity as a Political Resource: Perspectives from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe'
2012-2018Junior Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Cologne
2006-2012Lecturer, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Zurich
2000-2006Doctoral Researcher, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale


2015/18Positive evaluation of Junior Professorship in Social Anthropology (equivalent to Habilitation)
2006Ph.D. (Dr. phil.) in Social Anthropology, Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg
1999Magister Artium (M.A.) in Social Anthropology, Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Bayreuth

Research Grants & Fellowships

2021-2022Research project ‘Communication during and after COVID-19: (re)producing social inequalities and/or opportunities among African migrants in the United Arab Emirates and China’, with Prof. Dr. Tu Huynh and Dr. Jonathan Ngeh, Volkswagen Foundation
2020-2021Cooperation visit grant for Ousmanou Adama, German Research Foundation (DFG)
2020-2024Research unit 'The Production and Reproduction of Social Inequalities: Global contexts and concepts of labour exploitation', Volkswagen Foundation
2019Cooperation visit grant for Prof. Dr. Meron Zeleke Eresso, German Research Foundation
2019Workshop grant for 'The (re)production of social inequalities: Global contexts and concepts of exploitative labor', Volkswagen Foundation
2019DGSKA funding for workshop of the Regional Group Africa 'Towards an independent anthropology at African Universities: possibilities, challenges, trajectories', co-organized with Michael Bollig
2018Morphomata Fellow, Morphomata International Center for Advanced Studies, University of Cologne
2015-2019Research grant for 'Chinese Immigration Law and Policy: Perspectives of lawmakers, administrators and immigrants', in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Björn Ahl, German Research Foundation (DFG)
2014-2015International collaboration grant, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou
2013-2016Research grant for the University of Cologne Forum, 'Ethnicity as a political resource: Perspectives from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe', in collaboration with Dr. Albert Manke, University of Cologne
2013-2014Research grant for the Participatory Social Action and Research Project 'Kahina', Instituto de las Culturas de Melilla, Spain
2013EASA network funding for the international workshop 'Mobility within and to the Global South', co-organized with Prof. Dr. Heike Drotbohm
2011ASAFAS fellow, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, University of Kyoto
2008-2010Post-doctoral research grant, University of Zurich
2007/2008Individual exchange visit, Swiss National Science Foundation
2003Marie Curie fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Kent


Cameroon42 months (since 1996)
China4 months (between 2013 and 2017)
United Arab Emirates 4 months (2008, 2011, 2014, 2020, 2022, 2023)
Gabon2 months (2008, 2009)
South Africa1 month (2009, 2017)
Argentina, Bolivia1 month (2015, 2017)
Melilla (Spain)1 week (2014)

Professional affiliation

European Association of Anthropology (EASA)
German Anthropological Association (DGSKA)
German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV)
Complete CV
List of Academic Workshops and Presentations
Interview with Michaela Pelican
The talk-show moderator Jimla Nene interviews Michaela Pelican in the morning show 'Hello' on Cameroonian national television on the subject of 'Cameroonians migrating to Dubai' (Yaoundé, August 18, 2009).