Prof. Dr. Brigit Obrist


Curriculum Vitae

Brigit Obrist is Professor of Anthropology at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel, Switzerland (since 2007). She teaches a wide range of courses in anthropology, and is a leading expert in medical anthropology. Since 1998, she also holds a position as senior scientist at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (associated with the University of Basel) and leads an interdisciplinary Medical Anthropology Research Group (MARG) with post-doc and PhD projects in Germany, Switzerland, East and West Africa in the fields of malaria, urban health, sexual and reproductive health, ageing and health, as well as media and health. Since 1980 she has conducted basic research in Papua New Guinea, Switzerland, Indonesia, and Tanzania and directed various applied projects such as „Staying Healthy in Migration “ (Federal Office of Health) and „Social Vulnerability and Resilience“ (NCCR North-South - Research Partnerships for Mitigating Syndromes of Global Change). As technical advisor, she has guided the social science component of various public health projects including KINET (Swiss Development Corporation) and ACCESS (Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development). She is a member of editorial boards of various international scientific journals like Medical Anthropology, Anthropology & Medicine and Anthropologie et Santé.
Brigit studied anthropology, sociology and European anthropology at the University of Basel (lic.phil., 1982). She obtained her PhD (1990) at the University of Basel, based on field research on conceptualizations of childhood (mal-)nutrition in Papua New Guinea. Her habilitation (2001) at the University of Basel examined struggles of health in an urban neighborhood of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Focus in Teaching

Engaged anthropology, methodology, health and illness, transnationalism, gender and generation, Oceania, East Africa

Focus in Research

Regional focus: East Africa
Research Projects: Brigit Obrist leads a project on Ageing, Agency and Health in Urbanizing Tanzania (Swiss National Science Foundation, 2012-2014, inception phase).

Latest Publications

Van Eeuwijk, PietObrist, Brigit: Becoming old and frail in coastal Tanzania, in: Manderson, Lenore; Cartwright, Elizabeth; Hardon, Anita (Hg.): The Routledge Handbook of Medical Anthropology, New York, Oxford 2016, S. 189-192. edoc
Obrist, Brigit: Place matters: the home as a key site of old-age care in coastal Tanzania, in: Hoffman, Jaco; Pype, Katrien (Hg.): Ageing in Sub-Saharan Africa: Spaces and Practices of Care, Bristol 2016, S. 95-114. edoc
Obrist, Brigit: Social Resilience and Agency. Perspectives on Ageing and Health from Tanzania, in: Die Erde 147, 2016, H. 4, S. 266-274. edoc (Open Access), URL

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Ethnologisches Seminar
Universität Basel
Münsterplatz 19
CH-4051 Basel

Office phone:
+41 (0)61 207 27 45

Office fax:
+41 (0)61 207 27 47