Research Colloquium, Fall Semester 2021: “Making concepts work”

The focus of this semester is on the translation and operationalization of social scientific concepts in specific historical contexts and socio-cultural environments. The colloquium will engage with methodological and theoretical issues bearing on the translation of concepts across regions, across disciplines, and across academic and non-academic contexts.


program

Wed 29.09.2021, 12.15-14.00
Retribalization across time and space
Tebuho Winnie Kanyimba & Matthias Maurer Rueda (Centre for African Studies Basel/Department of Social Sciences, University of Basel)


Wed 13.10.2021, 12.15-14.00
Translating Black-Boxes
Elísio Macamo (Centre for African Studies Basel/Department of Social Sciences, University of Basel)


Wed 27.10.2021, 12.15-14.00
Title TBA
Sruthi Herbert (University of Edinburgh), Christine Lutringer (Graduate Institute Geneva)


Wed 10.11.2021, 12.15-14.00
TBA


Wed 24.11.2021, 12.15-14.00
Translating Forms of Knowledge
Maria Paula Meneses (Centro de Estudos Sociais e Económicos, Universidade de Coimbra)


Wed 08.12.2021, 12.15-14.00
Review session
Ralph Weber (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: rtg@unibas.ch.


PhD candidates and advanced MA students can earn credits (3 ECTS credit points). In order to do so, participants should 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. 62347-01).

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

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.


program

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: rtg@unibas.ch.


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.

Student assistant (6 hours per week), research

The Chair of African Studies at the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Basel is looking for a student assistant (6 hours/week) as part of the research project Reversing the Gaze: Towards Post-Comparative Area Studies funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Tasks

The successful candidate will assist a research team consisting of two doctoral students and a professor organizing events, transcribing data, managing data, searching literature, copy-editing/proofreading and content management (website).

Profile

Candidates must be registered students at the University of Basel, ideally in the final stages of their BA or beginning of their MA studies. We are looking for a reliable and motivated student with an interest in the broader politics of migration and a commitment to research. Good English language skills (oral and written) are required, good language skills in German and/or French are desirable.

Position

We offer a position in an interdisciplinary project and in a vibrant and open work environment.This student assistant position with six hours per week is scheduled to start on 1 October 2020 and is limited to one year. The general University regulations for student assistants apply.

Application/Contact 

Applications should include the following documents:

  1. Motivation letter (maximum two pages);
  2. Curriculum vitae (maximum two pages);
  3. Certificates, references, diploma;
  4. A writing sample in English.

Deadline for submission: 31 August 2020

Student assistant (6 hours per week), coordination

The Centre for African Studies Basel and the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Basel look for a student assistant (6 hours/week) as part of the research project Reversing the Gaze: Towards Post-Comparative Area Studies funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Tasks

The successful candidate will assist the project coordinator in administration, research management and communication. The tasks include travel management, organizing events, data management, copy-editing/proofreading and content management (website).In addition, the successful candidate will support the team of the executive office of the Centre for African Studies in its daily business.

Profile

Candidates must be registered students at the University of Basel, ideally in the final stages of their BA or beginning of their MA studies.We are looking for a reliable and motivated person with quick comprehension and good working knowledge of common office software. Very good English language skills (oral and written) are required, good language skills in German and/or French are desirable.

Position

We offer a position in an interdisciplinary project and in a vibrant and open work environment.This student assistant position with six hours per week is scheduled to start on 1 October 2020 and is limited to one year. The general University regulations for student assistants apply.

Application/Contact

Applications should include the following documents:

  1. Motivation letter (maximum two pages);
  2. Curriculum vitae (maximum two pages);
  3. Certificates, references, diploma
  4. A writing sample in English

Deadline for submission: 31 August 2020

Two PhD positions in the subproject “Citizenship, Migration and Retribalisation in Switzerland”

The Chair of African Studies in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Basel is looking for two PhD candidates to work within a SINERGIA Collaborative Research Project on “Reversing the Gaze: Towards Post-Comparative Area Studies” funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The Chair is in charge of a work package with the title “When There are Strangers in our Midst – Citizenship, Migration and Retribalisation in Switzerland”.

Project description

The work package foresees two qualitative studies to be carried out in Switzerland on two distinct civil society groups in the field of migration and citizenship. Drawing upon the concept of “retribalisation” developed in the context of anthropological research in Africa during the colonial period, the study will inquire into two distinct groups in Switzerland in order to test the relevance of using concepts developed in Africa to an understanding of phenomena in Europe. One group campaigns for an independent Switzerland, i.e. for a country that stresses a national identity unconstrained by transnational institutions such as the European Union and the United Nations, whereas the other group claims allegiance to liberal democratic values and emphasises a liberal definition of Swiss identity. In relation to immigration, both groups position themselves in contrasting ways and appear well-suited to test the relevance of the concept of “retribalisation”.

The study will focus on the life-worlds of these activists as they are shaped by the dynamic socio-cultural change brought about by immigration. The issues to be pursued are:

  • (a) The social profile of activists
  • (b) Their places of contact and social intercourse
  • (c) Their definitions of themselves in relation to their respective nation, immigrants and the political establishment
  • (d) Their overall understanding of political values.

Knowledge of German for the purpose of conducting research in Switzerland is a must.

Tasks

Successful candidates will develop an individual research design examining the research question of the above mentioned subproject; engage in the project workshops and colloquium; contribute to the project’s research output; present their own research inside and outside the University; complete their PhD theses.

Profile

Candidates should have a Master’s degree in any discipline in the humanities or social sciences. Ideally, they should have some experience in research in postcolonial contexts, especially in Africa. Good English and German language skills are required. 

Candidates have to fulfil the conditions for admission as a PhD student in the faculty of the Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Basel.

Position

These are two full-time research positions funded for four years and scheduled to start on 1 October 2020. The salary allows the successful candidates to cover living and tuition expenses, and to commit themselves fully to their research project. The place of work is Basel.

We offer the successful candidates membership in an interdisciplinary research group sharing a common interest in theoretical and methodological issues regarding knowledge production in a postcolonial context. The Department of Social Sciences and the Centre for African Studies at the University of Basel provide a vibrant and friendly research, teaching and study environment supporting emerging scholars in connecting with academic colleagues and institutions across the world. 

Application / Contact

Applications should include the following documents:

  1. Curriculum vitae (maximum two pages)
  2. Two academic references
  3. Copies of Master’s diploma and transcripts
  4. Copies of Bachelor’s diploma and transcripts
  5. A 3-5-page exposé discussing your views on the use of social scientific concepts in different cultural contexts and how you would make those views relevant to the study of phenomena in Switzerland drawing from concepts developed and first applied in Africa
  6. A writing sample (an article or a seminar paper)

Deadline for submission: 31 August 2020