Research Colloquium, Spring Semester 2021: “Comparison and Beyond”

The focus of this semester is on methodological and conceptual issues concerning comparison. In particular, the colloquium will discuss recent critical reflections on, and engage with new perspectives for, social scientific comparison.

After an introduction to the general topic in the first two sessions, four sessions will address current comparative research and reflect on the methodological and conceptual implications for different disciplines and research areas. The final session will pick up on questions raised previously and discuss new approaches in the social sciences in general and in Area Studies in particular.


Wed 10.03.2021, 12.15-14.00
Introduction to Comparison
Ralph Weber (Institute of European Global Studies, University of Basel)

Wed 24.03.2021, 12.15-14.00
Post-Comparison and Mid-Level Concepts
Ralph Weber (Institute of European Global Studies, University of Basel)

Wed 07.04.2021, 12.15-14.00
Reversing the Gaze: Anthropological Experiments – Steps towards Decolonization?
Peter Geschiere (Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, Amsterdam)

Wed 21.04.2021, 12.15-14.00
Anthropology and the positivist legacy of comparative agendas. Theoretical concepts and their epistemological power
Till Förster (Institute of Social Anthropology, Department of Social Sciences, University of Basel)

Wed 05.05.2021, 12.15-14.00
What do (research ) objects stand in for? Sociological implications of comparison
Elísio Macamo (Centre for African Studies Basel/Department of Social Sciences, University of Basel)

Wed 19.05.2021, 12.15-14.00
Generating concepts for global urban studies: Reformatting comparative urbanism
Jennifer Robinson (Department of Geography, University College London)

Wed 02.06.2021, 12.15-14.00
Reversing the gaze as a response to Eurocentrism: some preliminary thoughts
Lerato Posholi (Institute of European Global Studies, University of Basel)

The colloquium takes place online via Zoom. If you are interested in participating, please register via email to:

PhD candidates and advanced MA students can earn credits (3 ECTS credit points). In order to do so, participants should either present a paper on their ongoing research; discuss a core text in a reading session; act as a discussant on one of the sessions; or write a report on one of the sessions.

PhD candidates and students at the University of Basel can register for the course via MOnA (course no. 60720-01).

PhD candidates and students at other Swiss universities can register via the University of Basel Student Administration Office.