Through the lens of a reflexive cultural anthropology, I am strongly interested in the ways in which migration, and mobilities in general, co-create and transform nation-state societies: by way of transnationalizing and cosmopolitanizing them ‚from below‘. I study these processes mainly in urban settings, in the Mediterranean, at the borders of Europe.
Since I joined the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie at HU Berlin in 2009, I have been working towards establishing a new research perspective of a specifically anthropological reflection on historical and contemporary projects of Europe. In many cooperative discussions as well as in a broad range of publications the approach of “reflexive Europeanization” was developed which has by now become part of the main agenda of my teaching and research. I introduced the format of a Research Laboratory on Critical Europeanization Studies, in close connection to the Research Laboratory on Migration which have become focal points of ground-breaking cross-disciplinary debates, e.g. on “post-migrant Europe” and “Other Europes”. A main focus is put on how migration contributes to projects of „minor cosmopolitanisms”, i.e. how it productively challenges and undermines European self-understandings rooted in the imagination of exclusively national, white ‚containers’. For a long time, I have been collaborating with internationally renowned colleagues to further develop this new venture of a postcolonial European anthropology.
I co-directed the transdisciplinary research project Transit Migration (2003 – 2006) and co-curated the related collective exhibition Projekt Migration (2005, Cologne), both funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes. The project and the exhibition addressed Germany from the perspective of post-war migration movements challenging national and newly emerging European border regimes. I am a supervisor of the RTG Minor Cosmopolitianisms, and a co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Centre of Transnational Border Studies at Humboldt-Universität and the related Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium on Border Studies and Critical Migration Research. I am also a co-founding member of the Berlin Institute of Empirical Migration Studies (BIM). And, in cooperation with the CARMAH, I contributed to the H2020 project “TRACES. Transmitting Cultural Heritages with the Arts. From Intervention to Co-Production.”
My main research interests include processes of Europeanization in postcolonial, globally entangled perspective; critical migration and border studies; migration and the cosmopolitization of Europe; urban anthropology, reflexive anthropology of the Mediterranean, political anthropology. In terms of methodology, I strongly rely on ethnography and on transdisciplinary collaboration with the arts.
„Beyond the bounds of the ethnic: for postmigrant cultural and social research“. Journal of Aeshetics & Culture 9.2 (2017), 69-75.Open access, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20004214.2017.1379850
Witnessing the Transition. Moments in the long summer of migration. Eds. Birgit zur Nieden, Regina Römhild, Anja Schwanhäußer & Gökce Yurdakul. E-Book, open access (2017), https://www.international.hu-berlin.de/de/internationales-profil/refugees-welcome-an-der-hu/dateien-und-fotos-1/e-book-witnessing-the-transition
“The Post-Other as Avantgarde” (with Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung). We Roma. A Critical Reader in Contemporary Art. Eds. Daniel Baker & Maria Hlavajova. Amsterdam (Valiz) 2013.