Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Olaf Zenker

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Curriculum Vitae

Academic Qualifications

2015
Habilitation in Social Anthropology [second PhD in German speaking countries qualifying for full professorship], Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland, based on 8 peer-reviewed publications (Mentor: Prof. Dr. Julia Eckert).

2008
PhD in Social Anthropology, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg & Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Germany. PhD thesis: “Irish/ness is all around us: the Irish language and Irish identity in Catholic West Belfast” (Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Schlee and Prof. Dr. Rottenburg).

2002
MA in German Linguistics and Literature and Social Anthropology, University of Hamburg, Germany. MA thesis: „Techniken zur kommunikativen Herstellung von Gruppenzugehörigkeit: Eine Gesprächsanalyse über Imagearbeit bei Obdachlosen“ [“Communicative strategies for constructing group membership: a discourse analysis on face-work among homeless people”].

1999
MSc in Social Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK. MSc thesis: “Bewitchedful thinking: witchcraft and political instrumentalism in the Northern Province of South Africa”.

Academic Career

Since 02/2019
Professor (W3) at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.

2019 - 2021
Longer Term Fellow and Team Leader of the project Compensation Through Expropriation without Compensation? Land Reform and the Future of Redistributive Justice in South Africa” at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), Stellenbosch, South Africa.

2017 - 2019
Full Professor of Social Anthropology at the Departement of Social Sciences, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

03-06/2018
Fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), Stellenbosch, South Africa.

2015 - 2017
Junior Professor at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Free University of Berlin, Germany.

2015 - 2017
Programme Director of the BA in Social and Cultural Anthropology, Free University of Berlin, Germany.

2012 - 2015
Ambizione Research Fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland.

2014
Visiting Full Professorship (W3) at the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Cologne, Germany.

2013
Five-week Visiting Fellowship at the Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University, USA, in the course of the Ambizione Research Fellowship. [Sponsor: John L. Comaroff].

2012
Six-week Visiting Fellowship at the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology / Division of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom [Sponsor: Harri Englund] & Visiting Scholar at St. Edmund’s College in the course of the Ambizione Research Fellowship.

2009 - 2011
Assistant Professor [Wissenschaftlicher Assistent] at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland, at the Chair of Prof. Dr. Julia Eckert.

2009 - 2011
Associate in the Research Fellow Group „Law, Organisation, Science and Technology (LOST)”

2008 - 2009
Postdoctoral Researcher in the Research Fellow Group „Law, Organisation, Science and Technology (LOST)” at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany.

2003 - 2008
PhD Candidate at Department I „Integration & Conflict“ at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany.

2006 - 2007
Lecturer at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, at the Chair of Prof. Dr. Richard Rottenburg.

Ethnographic Fieldwork

2010 - 2016
15 months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in South Africa (mainly in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo) for the research project "Land restitution and the moral modernity of the new South African state."

2003 - 2004
15 months of stationary ethnographic fieldwork in Catholic West Belfast/Northern Ireland for the PhD project "Irish/ness is all around us: the Irish language and identity in Catholic West Belfast".

Additional Academic Functions

Since 2020
Convenor of the Anton Wilhelm Amo Lecture Series at the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

Since 2020
Associate Member of the Centre for Legal Integration in Africa (CLIA), University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa.

Since 2020
Honorary Student Tutor (Vertrauensdozent) of the German Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes).

Since 2019
Member of the Editorial Board of the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie (ZfE).

Since 2019
Member of the Editorial Board of the Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR).

Since 2018
Member of the Advisory Editorial Board of the Journal of Southern African Studies (JSAS).

Since 2017
Evaluation Committee Member of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) for the Ambizione Humanities and Social Science.

2015 - 2017
Executive Board Member of the German Anthropological Association (GAA) [seinerzeit: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde, DGV; heute: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie, DGSKA].

Since 2014
Member of the Consultative Committee and Associate, Departement III „Law & Anthropology“, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Germany.

Third-Party Funding

2019 - 2023
4-year Research Project on „Sentiments of bureaucracies: Affektive Folgen der digitalen Transformation in der deutschen Migrationsverwaltung“ [Sentiments of bureaucracies: Affective consequences of digital transformation in German migration management] within the Collaborative Research Centre [Sonderforschungsbereich] “Affective Societies” of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

2019 - 2022
4-year conference and publication project at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS), Stellenbosch, South Africa on the subject “Compensation Through Expropriation without Compensation? Land Reform and the Future of Redistributive Justice in South Africa”.

2015 - 2019
4-year Research Project on “Sentiments of justice and transitional justice: the International Criminal Court in Africa” [Gerechtigkeits-Gefühle und transitional justice: affektive Transkulturalität in Verfahren des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs] within the Collaborative Research Centre [Sonderforschungs-bereich] „Affective Societies“ of The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

2012 - 2015
Ambizione Research Fellowship of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) for individual career development.

2010 - 2011
Three grants by the Berne University Research Foundation, supporting three blocks of fieldwork for the project “Land restitution and the moral modernity of the new South African state”.

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