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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2019/20 Dr. Heike Drotbohm

Dr. Heike Drotbohm

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Social and Cultural Anthropology
Junior Fellow
March 2015 - February 2016


Heike Drotbohm is a post-doctoral researcher who has been working at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at University of Freiburg since 2004. She completed her doctorate on diasporic Haitian spirituality in Montreal (Canada) in 2004 (supervised by Prof M. Muenzel) and then worked on the notion and practices of kinship in transnational social fields, chosing Cape Verde as her second case study. Regionaly she concentrates on Creole societies along the Atlantic Rim (West Africa, Caribbean, Brazil) and developped a special interest in the anthropology of kinship and care, generational relations, the impact of deportation on migratory family lives and, more recently, bureaucratic encounters in migratory settings. After finishing her habilitation she spent one year at the international research centre "Work and the Life Course in Global History" at HU Berlin and worked as a Visiting Professor both at University of Konstanz and University of Freiburg. She is currently preparing an edited volume (co-edited with Prof E. Alber), titled "Anthropological Perspectives on Care: Work, Kinship, and the Life Cycle", to be published with Palgrave Macmillan, as well as a special issue (co-edited with Prof J. Eckert) on "Tracing Eligibilities. Moralities, Performances, Practices".

Heike Drotbohm received the “Albert-Bürklin Preis” for her post-doctoral studies and is currently a Heisenberg Fellow of the German Research Foundation.


Selected Publications

  • together with Ines Hasselberg (eds.) 2015: Deportation, Anxiety, Justice: new ethnographic perspectives. Special Issue of Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.
  • together with Boris Nieswand (eds.) 2014: Kultur, Gesellschaft, Migration: Die reflexive Wende in der Migrationsforschung. Wiesbaden: VS Springer.
  • 2013: The Promises of Co-mothering and the Perils of Detachment. A Comparison of Local and Transnational Cape Verdean Child Fosterage. In: Alber, Erdmute, Jeannett Martin und Catrien Notermans (eds.) 2013: Child Fosterage in West Africa: New Perspectives on Theories and Practices. Leiden: Brill: 217-245.
  • 2011: On the durability and the decomposition of citizenship: The social logics of forced return migration in Cape Verde. In: Julia Eckert (ed.) 2011: Citizenship Studies, (Special issue: Subjects of Citizenship). Vol. 15 (3/4): 381-396.
  • 2010: Haunted by Spirits: Balancing Religious Commitment and Moral Obligations in Haitian Transnational Social Fields. In: Gertrud Hüwelmeier und Kristine Krause (eds.) 2010: Traveling Spirits: Migrants, Markets and Mobilities. Oxford, New York: Routledge. S. 36-51.


FRIAS Research Project

Performances of eligibility in the context of migration industries in Brazil

During my stay at the FRIAS I will prepare my next fieldwork which will be carried out in two different regional and institutional contexts in Brazil. Taking the notion of eligibility as a theoretical starting point I intend to examine how migrants organize and disseminate their collective knowledge about bureaucratic encounters and how state or non-state bureaucrats reflect their 'thought work' with regard to decisions over eligibility (in the context of aid, health, housing, etc.)