South Africa 2013/2014

Lecturers: Till Förster, Fiona Siegenthaler

The field course has an overarching theme to which the individual research projects of the participants are loosely
related. The course will address “Urban articulations in South Africa”, focusing on Johannesburg and optionally small and medium cities in Gauteng province. The term “articulations” points in a wide sense at how actors, in particular urban contexts, express their identity, their views of the city and its society as well as their cultural convictions. It includes all forms of cultural expression insofar as they are visible to other actors in the urban sphere. They could range from religion or class - consciousness to individuality and sub-cultural collective identity.
The course starts with the autumn semester 2013 and ends with the spring term 2014. During the autumn term, students will look at concepts and theoretical frameworks of both the ‘urban’ and of ‘articulations’ as a social practice. They will also receive an introduction into methodological discussions in anthropology and the social sciences more generally. The individual topics will be defined at an early stage in cooperation with the lecturers and then developed by writing a literature review, drafting the research questions and preparing to conduct empirical research in South Africa.
The first semester ends with the submission of a short research proposal of 4–5 pages that will serve as a frame to the subsequent stay in Africa.
Field research will be conducted from early January through mid-February 2014 (ca. 6 weeks). The spring term 2014 is dedicated to the analysis of the field data and the writing of the final report. The course is co-supervised by two anthropologists who have extensive field experience in urban South Africa and elsewhere in Africa. They will advise the students and monitor their fieldwork during the time in the field.

For more details, see also Flyer [PDF (156 KB)] [PDF/156 KB] or contact Fiona Siegenthaler.


All students are expected to participate in the fieldwork in South Africa and in the second part of the course in the spring term 2014.