Anthropology Lecture Series #3: Right-wing xenophiles? : discourses on diversity in European far-right communities

by Dr. Agnieszka Pasieka

Register here:–rrD8pEtQhOLinorPUPr8x5huuAZaE

Drawing on ethnographic research with Italian and Polish far-right movements, in my talk I aim to shed light on the ways in which members of these movements deploy the notions of “difference” and “sameness” to promote their activism and appeal to broader population. First, I show that far-right militants strive to redefine the ideas of “race,” “ethnicity,” “diversity” to present themselves as respectful of difference and cast “left-wing liberals” as the enemies of diversity. Second, I demonstrate that while continuously hostile towards Islam and migrants and refugees from outside the EU, many of my research participants have been discovering a new ground for alliances with the migrants they dub “conservative.” In presenting such migrants as community-oriented and hard-working, the militants contrast them with an archetypical “Western man,” which in their eyes stands for consumerism, individualism and lack of values. In concluding, I say a few words about broader implications of these issues, not only in terms of socio-political developments but also for anthropology and anthropology practitioners.


Agnieszka Pasieka ist eine soziokulturelle Anthropologin. In ihrer Forschung beschäftigt sie sich mit Fragen der Ungleichheit, Diskriminierung und sozialen Hierarchien sowie mit der Art und Weise, wie verschiedene soziale Akteure damit umgehen. Sie hat eine längere Feldforschung über religiöse und ethnische Minderheiten in Polen und eine historisch orientierte Studie über Migration, Klasse und Ethnizität im Connecticut River Valley durchgeführt. Derzeit führt sie ein großes ethnographisches Projekt über Netzwerke europäischer rechtsextremer Aktivisten in Mitteleuropa durch. Zwischen 2015 und 2018 war Agnieszka Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow am Institut für Osteuropäische Geschichte und ist derzeit Elise Richter-Research Fellow im Institut für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie.


Pasieka is a social anthropologist interested in the issues of religious and ethnic pluralism, nationalism, political radicalism, migration, and qualitative methodology.

Her doctoral dissertation and the subsequent book, “Hierarchy and Pluralism. Living religious difference in Catholic Poland,” discussed the situation of religious and ethnic minorities in the context of church-state relations in Poland. It was based on a year-long ethnographic study of a rural community in Southern Poland, which, as a result of the region’s turbulent history, a series of ethnic cleansings and migrations, is today both ethnically and religiously diverse and as such stands in contrast to the rest of the – rather homogenous – Polish socio-cultural landscape.

Her most recent research explores different facets of far-right activism. In the period between 2015 and 2018, she carried out a research project entitled “Transnational nationalism,” which aimed to networks of youth far-right nationalist organizations in East Central Europe in the 20th and 21 centuries. Using historical and anthropological methodology, the study investigated the transnational dimension of far-right nationalist organizations: the networking of people, ideologies, and tactics between different nationalist groups which maintain distinct, and at times mutually exclusive, aims and interests. She is currently expanding this study in my project, “Living right: an anthropological study of far-right activism,” which seeks to investigate new forms of civic engagement pursued by far-right movements and to understand their increasing appeal among “ordinary,” socially established citizens. Focusing on far-right groups acting within and between a dozen European countries, the project investigates the processes of translation between locally grounded and transnational far-right practices and ideologies and the tensions produced as they try to orient themselves around both transnational and local concerns.

Anthropology Lecture Series: #2: An anthropologist from the Global South Plays with Augmented Reality: Reflections on technology, public spaces, politics, and waste in Maputo

by Anselmo Matusse

Register here:–rrD8pEtQhOLinorPUPr8x5huuAZaE

The rise of new media has significantly impacted different spheres of society and calls humanities and social scientists to critically engage with new media, mostly in the context of the Global South, where such studies are incipient. In this lecture, I play with Augmented Reality (AR), a technology that “enhances” reality, to function as a steppingstone into discussions on technology, politics, public spaces, and waste in post-colonial and post-socialist Maputo city, Mozambique’s capital.

Anselmo Matusseis is a PhD candidate in anthropology at the University of Cape Town. His current PhD project is based on Mount Mabo, in central Mozambique, and focuses on the changing relations between local communities and the mountain, which became popular in the media as “Google Forest” after it was put on a conservation map in 2005. He received an Early Career Grant from National Geographic, as well as a scholarship from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences and a fellowship from the Social Science Research Council.

Matusse has a master’s degree in Environmental Science from Linköping University. Matusse holds bachelors degrees in English Language Teaching and anthropology from Eduardo Mondlane University. His research interests include nature conservation, community empowerment, traditional knowledge systems, local innovations and innovators, digital humanities, and science communication.

Anthropology Lecture Series: #1: Breathing Hearts: The Politics and Practices of Sufi Healing in Berlin (An Ethnographic Book Project)

by Dr. Nasima Selim, University of Bayreuth

Organized by Prof. Dr. Katharina Schramm

03. May 2022, 6:30 P.M. CET

How do we let go of a Ph.D. dissertation written for the doctoral committee and transform it into an anthropologically informed book for a wider audience? Breathing Hearts is the first book-length, ethnographic account of the practices and politics of Sufi healing in Berlin. Sufism is commonly defined as Islamic mysticism. Breathing Hearts takes this definition as a point of departure to explore what it means to “breathe well” along the Sufi path in a place where public expression of certain religiosity is constrained, and Islam is increasingly marginalized. This book examines the lifeworlds of multi-ethnic immigrants, post-migrants of Color, and white ethnic Germans practicing Sufism as members of formalized transnational Sufi networks and as nomadic Sufis without formal affiliation. As a dual apprentice of anthropology and Sufism, the ethnographer offers a unique perspective to study urban Sufi practices in the “West” by shifting the (conventional) anthropological gaze through the sensibilities of a former physician and a woman* anthropologist-writer of Color with South Asian heritage. Breathing Hearts draws on nine years of anthropological engagement (2012-2021), including 18 non-consecutive months of ethnographic fieldwork in Berlin and connected sites (2013-2015; 2020-2021). In addition to extensive participant observation and more than forty-five in-depth interviews, the ethnographer has used archival, audiovisual, and digital methods during fieldwork. Breathing Hearts implicates a wider framing of “breathing” to articulate the imaginal, meta/physical, narrative, and political dimensions of living otherwise on the Sufi path. Walking the Sufi path is about breathing in the immediate bodily, material, affective, as well as metaphorical senses. Sufi healing practices mobilize the affective pedagogy and transformative techniques of the body in the existential quest of healing secular suffering where breathing is central as the seekers walk along the desire lines of becoming Sufi; differentially un/aware of the ontological, affective, and anti-political politics of breath that dis/connect them from/with the wider society. Sufism and anthropological research of Sufi healing may lead to different kinds of knowledge. Sufis and anthropologists may live very different lives. Yet, both traditions enable us to talk back to anti-Muslim racism and the trivialization of postsecular imagination in contemporary Germany.

Dr. Nasima Selim is an anthropologist, writer, educator, and researcher. She navigates the terrains of knowledge and praxis in medical anthropology, global health, public anthropology, and anthropology of Islam in and across Western Europe and South Asia. Nasima is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the department of anthropology, University of Bayreuth. Creative writing (non-fiction and fiction), reflexive-non-hierarchial pedagogy, and interdisciplinary collaborations inform her scientific and literary aspirations. Her current ethnographic book project is titled “Wayfaring hearts: Sufi healing practices in Germany”. She is also working on a postdoctoral research project titled “Who has the right to breathe? The politics of respiration and pandemic lifeworlds in South Asia”. Nasima co-founded the working group AG Public Anthropology of the German Anthropological Association, DGSKA.

Workshop, 27-28 May 2021:

Neoliberalism and the Global South

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27-28 May 2021, Online

For the full program, click here.

Digital Walk-in DAY 2 (2:00-2:30 PM Amsterdam-Brussels time – 30 MIN)

A time to double check technical issues, have a chat and get to know each other a bit already before the workshop begins. You can drop in at any time.

Panel III – Green Neoliberalism

(2:30-3:30 PM, Amsterdam-Brussels time – 60 MIN)

– 2:30 – 2:40 PM – Julia Swart, Assistant Professor Law, Economics and Governance, Utrecht University: 

Neoliberalism and the City (10 min.)

– 2:40 – 2:50 PM – Alexander Stingl, WIRL-COFUND Fellow, philosophy and sociology, Warwick University: 

Green Precarization (10 min.)

– 2:50 – 3:00 PM – Commentator: Katharina SchrammUniversität Bayreuth (10 min)

– 3:00 – 3:30 PM General Discussion (30 min.)

June 15, 2021, 4 P.M. CEST, Online Event

The Anthropology of Global Inequalities research group (University of Bayreuth) invites you to the second event of its Public Anthropology Talk series.

In this talk Annie McCarthy will build on a series of reflections she shared in a recent paper in HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory (2020) to explore questions about pedagogies of care in Anthropology. Drawing on her experience teaching courses in Anthropology, Gender Studies and Global Studies in two highly globalised neoliberal universities in Australia she will discuss a series of personal and pedagogical enmeshments that highlight questions about voice, representation, safety, and danger in our contemporary Universities. While she draws from Judith Butler in seeing enmeshment as the foundation of ethical pedagogy, it is through autoethnography that Annie explores the complex and intersecting ways both scholars and students become enmeshed in these questions and the struggles for survival inherent within them.  

To take part in this event, please register here.

Annie McCarthy is currently an Assistant Professor in Global Studies at the University of Canberra. Her ethnographic work has focused on the way slum children in Delhi pursue their own projects of development through participation in NGO programs. More broadly she is interested in the ways marginalized children negotiate and challenge institutions that seek to preserve, foster, or establish “childhood” both historically and in the contemporary moment. Here she turns to her teaching experience to reflect on her own practice as an anthropologist who has done far more teaching than research.

Follow us on Twitter: @anthroglobineq

Public Anthropology talk: “From hope to hate: The rise of conservative subjectivity in Brazil”, with Rosana Pinheiro-Machado

09 June 2021, 6 p.m. CEST

To participate in this event, please register here.

The Anthropology of Global Inequalities research group (University of Bayreuth) invites you to the first event of its Public Anthropology Talk series.

Rosana Pinheiro-Machado will present and discuss her research on political subjectivity and the rise of Bolsonarism in Brazil. Following her talk, we will discuss modes and challenges of public anthropology engagements in the face of persistent social inequalities and the current worldwide rise of right-wing radicalism.

Rosana Pinheiro-Machado is an anthropologist and assistant professor of international development in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences at the University of Bath (UK). Previously, she held positions at the University of Oxford, the University of São Paulo and Harvard University. She is currently researching and editing a volume on the radical right in the Global South.  As a public intellectual, she is well known for her award-winning writing for The Intercept Brasil and other media outlets like The Washington Post and Jacobin, as well as for her book “Amanhã vai ser maior: o que aconteceu com o Brasil e possíveis rotas de fuga para a crise atual” [Tomorrow will be greater: what happened to Brazil and possible escape routes to the current crisis] (2019), among many other publications. Her latest pieces include the papers “From hope to hate: The rise of conservative subjectivity in Brazil” (2020) and “Humanizing fascists? Nuance as an anthropological responsibility” (2021), both co-authored with Lucia Mury Scalco.

May 2021

Thiago Pinto Barbosa led a seminar on postcolonial studies last semester. Vanessa Jüttner and Semina Eder, participants in the seminar organized a symposium titled “Verortung postkolonialen Denkens und intervenierende Ansätze” (7-8 May, 2021, online). Click here for details.

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