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Stellenausschreibungen Ethnologie

The Department of Social and Cultural  Anthropology is in search of

The project “Empathy and Resilience: Phenomenological, Anthropological and Psychological Approaches to the Resilience Potentials within Cultural Practices of Collective Resonance” examines the different forms and functions of collective empathy in the ethnographic context of an indigenous group in the arid north-west of Namibia.


  • Developing a PhD project on the topic of "Empathy and Resilience in Rituals of Mourning and Healing"
  • Conducting ethnographic fieldwork for abut 12 month in Namibia
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Presentation of results in the form of regular reports, lectures, and publications
    Participating in regular project meetings
  • Support in the organization of academic events (conferences, workshops, working meetings


  • Completed master's degree (MA) in Social and Cultural Anthropology (or related disciplines
  • Willingness to conduct several months of research in southern Africa, familiarity with the research sites will be beneficial
  • Excellent knowledge of English is required; knowlede of Otjiherero language is of advantage


  • Integration in the University's Global South Study Center
  • a diverse working environment with equal opportunities
  • support in balancing work and family life
  • flexible working time models
  • extensive advanced training opportunities
  • occupational health management offers

The position is available from 01.04.2024 on a part time basis with 25,89 working hours per week (i.e. 65% of a full time job) until 31.03.2027. If the necessary prerequisits required by tariff regulations as well as the required personal qualifications are met the salary will correspond to the pay grade 13 as specified in the State's Tariff Agreement (TV-L)

Please send your application with proof of the required qualifications without a photo by email with the reference number Wiss2401-08 to m.boeck@uni-koeln.de

Application deadline: 11. Feb. 2024

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The innovative core of the project rests on the interplay between phenomenological conceptualisations of the relationships linking collective empathy and personal resilience on the one hand and ethnographic research based on participant observation on the other.

Two areas are addressed in particular:

  1. cultural practices of dealing with mourning and
  2. (serious) illness.

Methodologically, it systematically relates philosophy to anthropology, which opens up new perspectives for analysing collective forms of empathic practices within the entanglement of bodily, affective, cognitive and narrative processes. In doing so, it ties in with the latest theoretical developments in "phenomenological anthropology".

  • During the first few months, the doctoral researcher will mainly be involved in (a) operationalising the multidimensional empathy model for ethnological field research, (b) reviewing existing empirical material and (c) making concrete preparations for the fieldwork in Namibia (months 1-6).
  • In this first phase (probably in the 3rd or 4th month) of fieldwork, an approximately one-month pre-excursion to Namibia will take place. Here, the PI and PhD will identify a suitable research site and establish contacts with counterparts. It is recommended to take existing visual material into the field in order to discuss it in detail with local interview partners.
  • This approach will then be further developed in the actual phase of the fieldwork. This main period of fieldwork covers approximately 12 months.
  • The 6 months following the fieldwork are reserved for analysing the data.
  • The final year is intended for writing the dissertation. In addition, results should be presented at an international conference (e.g. ECAS).

For further inquiries on the project, please contact Prof. Dr. Michael Bollig (m.bollig@uni-koeln.de)


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