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Katrin Sowa, M.A.

Short Biography

Co-speaker of the regional group Africa of the German anthropology association together with Hauke Vehrs & Lamine Doumbia

since April 2020: Assistant Professorship at the Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Cologne, Co-supervising the M.A. program "Culture and Environment in Africa"

2018-2019: fieldwork stay in Kenya, affiliation to Kenyatta University, Nairobi

2017-2020: EUmanities Research Fellow (a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School of the Humanities, Cologne)

2016: Master of Arts in Anthropology at the University of Cologne

2014: Research and Study at the Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies, Gulu University (Uganda)

2012: Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Anthropology & African Studies at the Johannes-Gutenberg University, Mainz

Thematic Interests and Regional Focus

Border Studies, Migration, Bureaucracy, Gender, Globalization, Political Anthropology, Colonialism.

East Africa.


May-September 2023: b/or/der st/or/ies intervention in Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum with Sofie Steinberger & Pamoja Afrika e.V. Köln

2022 completed dissertation project "Enforcing the Line: An Ethnography of the Kenyan Border Regime" (supervised by Prof. Michael Bollig; Prof. David Anderson; Prof. Martin Zillinger)


2023. “Little Dubai” in the crossfire: Trade corridor dynamics and ethno-territorial conflict in the Kenyan–Ethiopian border town Moyale, Journal of Eastern African Studies.

2023. Boas-Blog "Content Warning? Kritische und sensible Wissensvermittlung in der ethnologischen Lehre" with Lamine Doumbia, Hauke Vehrs & Qyên Vo.

2020. Cultural Profiling During Passport Control: Ugandan Migration Officers’ Informal Selection Practices. Sociologus: Journal of Social Anthropology vol 70, 1.

2017. Street-Level Bureaucrats and Passport Networking: Practices of Immigration Law Enforcement in Northern Uganda. Cologne African Studies Centre: Culture and Environment in Africa Series, Issue 10.



2023. Proofing Citizenship, Unmaking Ambiguity: ID Vetting in Kenya’s Borderlands. Presentation ECAS 2023 in Cologne.

2019. Enforcing the "Smooth Flow": Challenges of New Mobility Infrastructures at Kenyan Borders. Presentation at the European Conference on African Studies in Edinburgh.

2017. “When my Antennas come out”: Practices of Immigration Law Enforcement in Northern Uganda - Perspectives from the Global South. Presentation at the Tensions of Europe Conference in Athens.

2017. Passkontrolle als Kategorisierungsarbeit: Zur Umsetzung von Migrationsgesetzen in Norduganda. Presentation at the German Anthropological Association Conference in Berlin.



July 2016: Award of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Cologne for M.A. Thesis