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Current Fieldwork Practice


Urbanism, Space and People in Hanoi - Summer School 2023 in Vietnam with Field Research Practice

The 21st century is also referred to as the “Asian urban century”. By 2030, more than half of Asia's population will live in cities. Already since the turn of the millennium, for the first time, more people worldwide live in cities than in rural areas, most of them in cities of the Global South. For this reason, urban research in general and urban anthropology in particular have received increased attention in social sciences and humanities in recent years. In particular, urbanization processes in the Global South are increasingly the focus of interest.

The material and social infrastructures of these urban spaces reflect the economic and social changes initiated in particular by the global neoliberal developments of the last decades. At the same time, cities in the Global South are shaped by the power relations of colonialism and post-colonialism. Against this backdrop, urban studies have increasingly called for a "Southern perspective on urban studies" (Patel 2014), as these power relations are also reflected in theorizing at the epistemological level. Theories in urban research continue to show a bias toward northern cities. It is necessary to address this imbalance through research in cities of the Global South together with scholars of the Global South.

Together with the Department for Urban History of the University for Social Sciences and Humanities of the Vietnam National University in Hanoi (USSH-VNU) we would like to explore Hanoi as an example of a dynamic, fast-growing Asian city. This cooperation will give participants the chance to critically engage with urban studies in the Global South in an interdisciplinary setting.

Participation in this field research practice will offer you the chance not only to play a part in an exciting exchange between researchers but also make use of ethnographic methods, collect ethnographic data, and prepare for your master thesis.


Modul EM1 "Field Research Practice" consists of:

The field research practice will start with a practical exercise (Praktische Übung) as a preparation for the summer school. Participation in the course is mandatory for students who want to partake in the summer school. The course will give you a basic understanding of Vietnamese history and society as a background for engaging in research in Vietnam. Throughout the course topics such as intercultural communication, critically reflecting power-relations and dealing with emotional challenges during field work will be addressed.


Academic program in Hanoi starts on Monday, 18.9.2023. From Monday through Friday of this week, workshops and lectures about urbanism in Hanoi take place in the mornings, led by researchers from USSH and UoC. In the afternoons there will be excursions to places in the city to explore the content of the workshops and lectures in depth.

Evenings and the weekend will be free and can be used for self-planned leisure activities, such as tourist excursions.

From Monday through Thursday of the second week, participants will have time to pursue their own research based on their research questions developed during the first week. On Friday we will meet for a closing workshop and exchange about our experiences.

The return flight will take place on Saturday, 30. September 2023.


With kind support by Cologne Summer Schools and the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, the program will cover costs for a return flight from Frankfurt to Hanoi, accommodation in Hanoi in twin-rooms or shared apartments and the academic program in Hanoi (lectures and workshops, transport during study trips).

Participants will have to cover their expenses for meals and local transport outside of study trips, as well as the visa fee. Please note that it is your own responsibility to take out appropriate travel medical insurance.

More information on how to prepare for your stay in Hanoi will be provided during the practical exercise (Praktische Übung) in the summer term.

The module will continue with a practical exercise as follow-up to the Summer School in Hanoi and conclude with a module examination in form of a written report.


Please register through KLIPS for the course EM1 | Urbanism, Space and People in Hanoi - Summer School in Vietnam (Monday 12-1.30 pm). Participation in this course is mandatory if you would like to participate in the Summer School!

Please also submit a letter of motivation (1.000 – 1.500 words) to eva.fuhrmann@uni-koeln.de, including your Name, study subject and semester until 28.3.2023.

In your letter of motivation, please address the following questions:

  • Why would you like to participate? What do you wish to achieve during this course?
  • Are you planning to write your master thesis on the topic? If yes, what is your topic?
  • How do you integrate the summer school in your study plan e.g. is this an obligatory module that you have yet completed?
  • Please point out if you already participated in field research practice at the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology.




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