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Prof. Michaela Pelican as your PhD Supervisor

I am Professor of Social and Anthropology at the University of Cologne. Previously, I was a lecturer at the University of Zurich and a researcher with the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale. I received my PhD from the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and my MA from the University of Bayreuth. My current focus is on South-South mobility and migrant transnationalism, and involves research in Cameroon, the United Arab Emirates, and China. I have worked on indigeneity in Africa, a toptc that emerged from my previous research on interethnic relations and identity politics in Cameroon. Moreover, I have a strong interest in visual and media anthropology, and have been using methods of visual and theatre anthropology throughout my research. I have published on Fulbe agro-pastoral economy, farmer-herder relations, interethnic friendship, witchcraft, citizenship and indigenous rights, migrant transnationalism, and Fulbe mobility. In my teaching I concentrate on research methodology, political and social anthropology, anthropology of religion, and the anthropology of Africa.

Doctoral students are expected to be self-reliant, flexible, committed, and to work alongside others. They will be required to engage in the preparation of project applications. Basic conditions for PhD supervision include an excellent Master’s degree in anthropology or social sciences, and an original project idea related to my fields of interest. Students enquiring for supervision should submit a project synopsis.

Recent PhD-candidates

Kim Schumann

"Can I call you?" Negotiating new modes of communication between Cameroon and abroad (working title)


Zafer, Karim

Unaccompanied Minor and Youth Refugees Making a Family (working title)



Chan, Lai Pik (completed 2021)

Foreign English Teachers in China – Opportunities and Challenges (part of the DFG funded project 'Chinese immigration law and policy: perspectives of lawmakers, administrators and immigrants')



Kaji, Severin (completed 2020)

African students in China: migratory projects and everyday life experiences (funded by DAAD)



Heck, Moritz (completed 2019)

Prozesse der Juridifizierung sozialer Beziehungen und politischer Mobilisierung in Bolivien (funded by Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes)



Zhou, Yang (completed 2017)

Intercultural marriage, legal status and social belonging in China: Chinese-African couples and families in Guangzhou (funded by the China Scholarship Council)



Menzfeld, Mira (completed 2016)

"What it means to die." A participant observation with dying persons in Germany (funded by Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes)