Upcoming Activities

Ethnography as Counter-Investigation?


Time: 4–6 p.m.

Loca­tion: Online, via zoom

death of a traveller

Book presentation and discussion with Didier Fassin:

Death of a Traveller. A Counter-Investigation. Polity 2021.

In his last book, Didi­er Fassin exam­ines a bla­tant case of police vio­lence and insti­tu­tion­al racism. A young man, belong­ing to the Trav­eller com­mu­ni­ty, fails to return to prison after a tem­po­rary release. The search oper­a­tion of a spe­cial unit of the French gen­darmerie ends with the fugi­tive shot dead on his par­ents’ farm. After­wards con­tra­dic­to­ry accounts of the fatal event are giv­en. The gen­darmerie speaks of inevitable self-defense; the fam­i­ly reports of a sequence of exag­ger­at­ed bru­tal­i­ty that cul­mi­nates in the exe­cu­tion of their rel­a­tive. Dur­ing the fol­low­ing judi­cial inves­ti­ga­tion, the family’s account is mar­gin­al­ized and even­tu­al­ly dis­re­gard­ed; the offi­cers’ ver­sion prevails.

Based on inter­views as well as a care­ful read­ing of offi­cial doc­u­ments and judi­cial reports, Didi­er Fassin car­ries out a “counter-inves­ti­­ga­­tion”. Giv­ing each ver­sion of the nar­ra­tive the same cred­it, he expos­es the incon­sis­ten­cies that the court rul­ing, final­ly dis­charg­ing the offi­cers, had ignored. As a result, Fassin coun­ters the author­i­ta­tive “judi­cial truth” with an alter­na­tive “ethno­graph­ic truth” that aims at re-open­ing a legal­ly closed sto­ry and here­by return­ing respectabil­i­ty to the vic­tim and his family.

In this online meet­ing Didi­er Fassin will dis­cuss with mem­bers of the com­mis­sion “Ethno­gra­phies of the Polit­i­cal” about the par­tic­u­lar gen­e­sis of the book, its main con­cepts, argu­ments and tex­tu­al­i­ty. A spe­cif­ic empha­sis will be put on “counter-inves­ti­­ga­­tion” as a method­ol­o­gy to inter­vene into polit­i­cal and judi­cial process­es via ethnog­ra­phy. We will explore the char­ac­ter­is­tics and poten­tials of “counter-inves­ti­­ga­­tion” in rela­tion to fur­ther approach­es and strate­gies of a Pub­lic Anthropology.

Please reg­is­ter by send­ing an email to Natasha Deasy ( You will receive a zoom-link the day before the event.

Didi­er Fassin is the James D. Wolfen­sohn Pro­fes­sor at the Insti­tute for Advanced Study in Prince­ton and a Direc­tor of Stud­ies at the École des hautes études en sci­ences sociales in Paris.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the book “Death of a Trav­eller”, please con­sult this recent review (in Ger­man).

This event is orga­nized by the com­mis­sion “Europeanization_​​Globalization: Ethno­gra­phies of the Polit­i­cal” (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Empirische Kul­tur­wis­senschaft) in coop­er­a­tion with the U Bre­men Excel­lence Chair Research Group “Soft Author­i­tar­i­anisms”.

Past Activities

HIRSCHMAN FORUM 2022: Democracy


Time: 6 – 8 p.m. CET

With Ste­fano Har­ney (Pro­fes­sor of Trans­ver­sal Aes­thet­ics, Acad­e­my of Media Arts, Cologne) and Shali­ni Ran­de­ria (President/​​Rector, Cen­tral Euro­pean Uni­ver­si­ty, Vien­na; Senior Vis­it­ing Fel­low, Albert Hirschman Cen­tre on Democ­ra­cy, The Grad­u­ate Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al and Devel­op­ment Stud­ies, Geneva)

Con­vened by Samia Hen­ni, Albert Hirschman Chair 2021/​​22, the Insti­tute for Advanced Study of Aix Mar­seille Uni­ver­si­ty (IMERA)

On Surprise and City Making. Imperial Remains, Erratic Europeanization and the Wonders of Urban Life in West Ukrainian Lviv


Loca­tion: Bal­ti­more, MD

Addi­tion­al event info: Paper by Dr. Jens Adam

Home page Graphic

American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting 2021: Truth and Responsibility

Anthro­po­log­i­cal research on con­tem­po­rary Europe has to deal with pow­er­ful epis­te­molo­gies: the ‘colo­nial divide’ between ‘Europe’ and the colo­nial ‘oth­ers’, the monop­o­liz­ing effects of the process­es of EU-inte­­gra­­tion on visions about the continent’s shape, bor­ders and future or the close link between ‘moder­ni­ty’ and ‘Europe’ are just three such epis­temic tra­di­tions that play out in polit­i­cal debates, fields of prac­tice and dai­ly life. Tak­ing the rel­e­vance of these epis­te­molo­gies for the cur­rent work­ings of pow­er into account, a crit­i­cal research on ‘Europe’ and ‘Euro­peaniza­tion’ seems indis­pens­able. But how can we do so with­out repro­duc­ing such epis­temic tra­di­tions and their hier­ar­chi­cal effects?

Based on ethno­graph­ic mate­r­i­al in Lviv (West­ern Ukraine) – a city locat­ed at a cross­ing point of dif­fer­ent ‘impe­r­i­al for­ma­tions’ (Stoler/​​McGranahan/​​Perdue 2007), right behind the EU’s cur­rent exter­nal bor­der – I will demon­strate, how these epis­te­molo­gies can be decen­tred by the ‘won­ders of urban life’. Sur­round­ed by the man­i­fold traces and remains of divers empires, nation states and polit­i­cal sys­tems, Lvi­vians have become dai­ly experts in relat­ing the stuff left behind. They still recall the unful­filled promis­es of bygone projects of urban moder­ni­ty. They take part in re-arrang­ing these remains into man­i­fold forms of con­tem­po­rary city­ness. And nav­i­gat­ing the city, they expe­ri­ence the errat­ic effects of con­tem­po­rary process­es of Euro­peaniza­tion, gen­er­at­ing new infra­struc­tures, con­nec­tions and capa­bil­i­ties as much as rup­tures, voids and ruins. The spaces in between these par­tial re-arrange­­ments and errat­ic effects invoke sur­prise as a con­sis­tent con­di­tion of city mak­ing – sur­pris­es about the dys­func­tion­al­i­ty of infra­struc­tures, about the close­ness of con­nec­tion and dis­con­nec­tion, about the co-pres­ence of revi­tal­i­sa­tion and dis­so­lu­tion, about the qual­i­ty of bygone projects of urban moder­ni­ty or about the fact that the ram­shackle mate­r­i­al struc­ture does not just collapse.

In my paper, I will take such sur­pris­es as ethno­graph­ic start­ing points to trace the simul­ta­ne­ous enact­ment and decen­tring of dom­i­nant Euro­pean epis­te­molo­gies in dai­ly prac­tices of city mak­ing. I will exam­ine how these won­ders of urban life can inform counter-nar­ra­­tives about ‘Europe’ as a muta­ble and frag­ile, inter­nal­ly diverse and glob­al­ly entan­gled formation.

Yisares Autumn School


8. Octo­ber 202130. Octo­ber 2021

Loca­tion: online


This nine-day inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Autumn Research School aims at map­ping the dif­fer­ent forms of extrac­tivist cap­i­tal­ism across transna­tion­al spaces and emerg­ing rela­tion­al geo­gra­phies includ­ing cur­rent devel­op­ments in finance, logis­tics and dig­i­tal economies.

Zones of Extractivism: capitalism, territorial fragmentation and the normalization of (soft) authoritarian rule


Time: 15:30–17:00

Addi­tion­al event info: Organ­ised by Jens Adam, Ulrike Flad­er and Frank Müller (Uni­ver­si­ty of Bremen)


In this pan­el, we would like to shed light on the inter­re­la­tions between extrac­tivism, ter­ri­to­r­i­al frag­men­ta­tion and (soft) author­i­tar­i­an rule. Based on ethno­graph­ic obser­va­tions and case stud­ies from Brazil, Hun­gary, Turkey and West­ern Europe we will dis­cuss the fol­low­ing ques­tions: Why and how do extrac­tive cap­i­tal­ism and new forms of author­i­tar­i­an rule coin­cide in the present moment? To which extent are zones of extrac­tivism enabled by the nor­mal­iza­tion of (soft) author­i­tar­i­an prac­tices, rhetoric and tech­nolo­gies of gov­er­nance? Is there a spe­cif­ic (soft) author­i­tar­i­an way to address and respond to process­es of frag­men­ta­tion evoked by neolib­er­al cap­i­tal­ism? And what can we learn about con­tem­po­rary forms of labour, dis­pos­ses­sion and cap­i­tal accu­mu­la­tion by focus­ing on these interrelations?

The pan­el is orga­nized as a fish­bowl for­mat. After intro­duc­to­ry state­ments by Erdem Evren (Berlin), Eliane Fer­nan­des (Ham­burg) and Kristóf Szom­bati (Budapest) and first com­ments by Andrea Müh­le­bach (Bre­men) the audi­ence is invit­ed to join in a live­ly and inter­ac­tive discussion.

Scalar Contaminations - Mapping out the Consequences of „Europe“


Time: 17:00 – 18:30

Addi­tion­al event info: Paper: Jens Adam


Round table organized by the RG „Europe”

Dif­fer­ent epis­te­molo­gies of impe­r­i­al dom­i­na­tion res­onate in con­tem­po­rary notions of Europe: the ‚colo­nial divide‘ between Europe and its ‚exter­nal oth­ers‘, the mar­gin­al­iza­tion of social­ist moder­ni­ty or the monop­o­liz­ing effects of EU-inte­­gra­­tion on visions about the continent’s shape, bor­ders and future are just three such epis­temic tra­di­tions that con­fig­ure Europe as a polit­i­cal project and object of knowl­edge. I would like to cen­ter my inter­ven­tion around the ques­tion of how we can do anthro­po­log­i­cal research on Europe and Euro­peaniza­tion with­out repro­duc­ing these epis­te­molo­gies and their hier­ar­chi­cal effects. For that pur­pose, I will pro­pose an ana­lyt­i­cal approach that aims at exam­in­ing Europe as a het­eroge­nous, mul­ti­ple and uncom­plet­ed for­ma­tion by apply­ing a twofold ana­lyt­i­cal move: fore­ground­ing Europe as an object of crit­i­cal study in order to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly decen­ter it through an explic­it focus on its glob­al entan­gle­ments and impe­r­i­al „world-mak­ing projects“, on its inter­nal fric­tions and margins.

GAA meets Goethe: Wie viel Ethnologie geht in die Kulturpolitik?


Time: 11:00 – 12:30

Addi­tion­al event info: Michi Knecht und Jens Adam im Gespräch mit Car­o­la Lentz (Goethe-Insti­tut)


Ein Gespräch mit Carola Lentz, Präsidentin des Goethe-Instituts

Seit Novem­ber 2020 ist die Afri­­ka-Eth­nolo­­gin Car­o­la Lentz Präsi­dentin des Goethe-Insti­­tutes. Wir nehmen diese Beru­fung zum Anlass, um über Schnittmen­gen und Berührungspunk­te zwis­chen Kul­­tur- und Sozialan­thro­polo­gie und (auswär­tiger) Kul­tur­poli­tik zu disku­tieren: Welche Erfahrun­gen und Kom­pe­ten­zen ein­er Eth­nolo­gin sind im im kul­tur­poli­tis­chen Feld aktivier­bar? Welchen Nieder­schlag find­en postkolo­niale Kri­tiken in der The­menset­zung, der Pro­gram­mar­beit und den Koop­er­a­tions­for­men des Goethe-Insti­­tuts? Lässt sich auf die gegen­wär­tige glob­ale Welle von nation­al­is­tis­chen Pop­ulis­men und Autori­taris­men mit den Mit­teln der Kul­tur­poli­tik reagieren? Besitzen Ethnolog_​​innen einen spez­i­fis­chen Blick auf aktuelle außen­poli­tis­che Krisen und Kon­stel­la­tio­nen, auf die kul­tur­poli­tis­che Akteure eventuell zurück­greifen kön­nen? Und welche Beruf­s­möglichkeit­en bietet Kul­tur­poli­tik für Absolvent_​​innen unser­er Diszi­plin? Diese Fra­gen ste­hen im Zen­trum des DGS­­KA-Gespräch­es von Prof. Dr. Car­o­la Lentz, Präsi­dentin des Goethe-Insti­­tuts, sowie mit Dr. Jens Adam und Prof. Dr. Michi Knecht, Insti­tut für Eth­nolo­gie und Kul­tur­wis­senschaft der Uni­ver­sität Bremen.

Proteste beschreiben und analysieren. Linguistische und interdisziplinäre Zugänge


Time: 10:00 ‑12:00 c.t.

Loca­tion: Dig­i­tal via Zoom


Work­shop mit Dr. Friedrich Marke­witz (U Paderborn)

Proteste als gesellschaftlich rel­e­vante sowie sit­u­a­tiv, medi­al etc. kom­plexe Kom­mu­nika­tion­sereignisse sind auf der einen Seite über Aspek­te der Protestkom­mu­nika­tion, medi­alen Prä­gung oder Inven­tarisierung kom­mu­nika­tiv­er Protest­prak­tiken lin­guis­tisch erschließbar. Als inter­diszi­plinär erfass­bares Phänomen liefern auf der anderen Seite andere kul­­tur- und sozial­wis­senschaftliche Forschungs­bere­iche rel­e­vante the­o­retis­che wie method­is­che Erfassungs‑, Auswer­­tungs- und Reflexionshinweise.

Anschließend an die Ver­anstal­tung „Kon­tra­punk­te – Wis­senschaft im Wider­spruch“ sollen in diesem Work­shop Möglichkeit­en und Gren­zen, Poten­ziale und Her­aus­forderun­gen der diskurs- und sys­temthe­o­retis­chen Konzep­tu­al­isierung von Protesten im Zusam­men­hang lin­guis­tis­ch­er (syn­chroner wie diachroner) Protest-Forschun­­gen disku­tiert wer­den, um so auch lin­guis­tisch-inter­disz­i­­plinäres Arbeit­en genauer fassen und reflek­tieren zu können.

Zum Work­shop sind alle ganz her­zlich ein­ge­laden, ins­beson­dere Nachwuchswissenschaftler*innen und Studierende (BA, MA & PhD). Anmel­dun­gen bitte an Jonas Trochemowitz (trochemo(at)uni-bremen(dot)de)

Vor­bere­itungslek­türe: Dan­gh-Anh, Mark (2019): Protest Twit­tern. Eine medi­en­lin­guis­tis­che Unter­suchung von Straßen­protesten. Biele­feld [Open-Access-Pub­­­lika­­tion:]

Kontrapunkte: Wissenschaft im Widerspurch #6


Time: 18:00 c.t.

Loca­tion: Dig­i­tale Podiumsdiskussion

Addi­tion­al event info: Mod­er­a­tion: Hagen Steinhauer


Protest kontrovers: Diskurs- und systemtheoretische Zugänge

Dig­i­tale Podi­ums­diskus­sion mit:

Prof. Dr. Christi­na Gansel | Uni­ver­sität Greif­swald
Prof. Dr. Dorothee Meer | Ruhr-Uni­ver­sität Bochum
Mod­eriert von Dr. Friedrich Marke­witz | Uni­ver­sität Paderborn

Proteste sind kom­­plex-dynamis­che, soziale Phänomene, deren Erforschung der inter­diszi­plinären the­o­retis­chen sowie empirischen Aufar­beitung und Fundierung bedürfen.

Sowohl die Diskurs- als auch die Sys­temthe­o­rie bieten pro­funde Erk­lärungspoten­ziale und Analy­seper­spek­tiv­en auf diese überkom­plex­en sozialen Kom­mu­nika­tion­sereignisse. In ein­er von Dr. Friedrich Marke­witz geleit­eten Diskus­sion mit den Pro­fes­sorin­nen Christi­na Gansel und Dorothee Meer sollen Möglichkeit­en und Gren­zen sowie die ver­schiede­nen Analy­seebe­nen der diskurs- und sys­temthe­o­retis­chen Per­spek­tivierung von Protest disku­tiert werden.

Anmel­dung bis zum 05.07. bei Jonas Trochemowitz (trochemo(at)uni-bremen(dot)de)

Demokratiebewegung und Menschenrechte in Belarus: Wie kann die belarussische Zivilgesellschaft von Europa aus unterstützt werden?


Time: 16:00–17:30

Addi­tion­al event info: Guest: Jens Adam among others

hertie image square

Work­shop im Rah­men des Her­tie Sum­mit 2021 Mehr als Zusam­men­leben: Zusammenhalten 

Nach manip­ulierten Präsi­dentschaftswahlen im Som­mer 2020 kam es in Belarus zu hefti­gen Demon­stra­tio­nen der Demokratiebe­we­gung. Vor den Augen der Weltöf­fentlichkeit schlug die Polizei die Proteste jedoch bru­tal nieder. Eben­falls für inter­na­tionale Aufmerk­samkeit sorgte die Tat­sache, dass die belarus­sis­che Oppo­si­tions­be­we­gung haupt­säch­lich von Frauen ange­führt wird, darunter die inzwis­chen im Exil lebende Swet­lana Tichanowska­ja. Das Fel­lows Net­zw­erk „Democ­ra­cy is Cen­tral“ für Demokratie und Rechtsstaatlichkeit in Mit­­tel- und Osteu­ropa und das „Net­zw­erk Europa e.V.“ wollen die belarus­sis­che Protest­be­we­gung und die Zukun­ft der belarus­sis­chen Demokratie aus ein­er europäis­chen Per­spek­tive betrachten.

Wir laden Sie daher zu einem Work­shop ein, der sich mit der Frage beschäftigt, wie die belarus­sis­che Demokratiebe­we­gung am besten unter­stützt wer­den kann und welche Rolle die EU und eine sol­i­darische europäis­che Zivilge­sellschaft hier spie­len können.

Public.Crisis.Academia – Lessons on Repression from Turkish Universities


Time: 16:00 – 18:00

Loca­tion: Uni­ver­si­ty of Bremen

Addi­tion­al event info: Chairs: Nurhak Polat and Ulrike Flad­er (Uni­ver­si­ty of Bremen)


The cur­rent repres­sion towards aca­d­e­mics com­pels us to revis­it the rela­tion between acad­e­mia and a demo­c­ra­t­ic pub­lic in the light of its cur­rent ero­sion by author­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ments. Ask­ing how we can grasp aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom in terms of rights and respon­si­bil­i­ties for the future of democ­ra­cy, the event will explore lessons that can be learnt from the Turk­ish case and con­tribute to a broad­er diag­no­sis of the sit­u­a­tion of acad­e­mia beyond this spe­cif­ic cri­sis. Draw­ing on the find­ings of their recent study on aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom in Turk­ish uni­ver­si­ties, İnan Özdemir Taş­tan and Aydın Ördek from the School of Human Rights, Ankara/​​Turkey, will dis­cuss the extent of the repres­sion and its implications.

This event is joint­ly orga­nized by the Inter­na­tion­al Office, the Depart­ment of Anthro­pol­o­gy and Cul­tur­al Research, the Research Group Soft Author­i­tar­i­anisms, and Worlds of Con­tra­dic­tion, all Uni­ver­si­ty of Bre­men. It is part of the lec­ture series “Pol­i­tics of Repres­sion – Strate­gies and Resis­tances in Schol­ar­ship” orga­nized in coop­er­a­tion with the Leib­niz Uni­ver­si­ty Han­nover, Carl von Ossi­et­zky Uni­ver­si­ty of Old­en­burg, the Leuphana Uni­ver­si­ty Lüneb­urg and the Georg-August-Uni­ver­si­­ty Göt­tin­gen, and sup­port­ed by the net­work ‘Schol­ars at Risk´.

No reg­is­tra­tion required. 

Access the event here

Webi­­nar-ID: 913 2131 3524

Pass­code: 196314