Prof. Dr. Heike Drotbohm

Heisenberg Chair of Anthropology "African Diaspora and Transnationalism"

Research interests
Migration, diaspora and transnationalism, kinship and care, childhood and youth, rights and bureaucracy, religion

Research areas
Atlantic rim (Caribbean, Brazil, West Africa)


Thematic thread dedicated to displacement and new sociabilities. Curated by Heike Drotbohm and Annika Lems.  ... 

New research project approved!

African trajectories across Central America: Dynamics between displacements, transitory emplacements, and ambivalent migration nodes

This research project aims to gain insight into the emerging trajectories of displaced African migrants who traverse severely challenged Central American countries in an attempt to reach North America. On an empirical level, the project responds to the recent increase of African migrants and refugees in Central America and situates their understudied experiences in a context of globe-spanning yet lopsided migration routes, crises and industries. On a theoretical level, the project builds on and further elaborates critical understandings of the dynamics between migration, displacement and (im)mobilities.  ... 

The State, Anthropology, and the South: bringing different networks and research traditions into dialogue

International Workshop (closed), May 18 -19, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Bringing anthropologies of the state to Mainz: A workshop report

Conveners: Thomas Bierschenk (Mainz); Heath Cabot (Pittsburgh); Heike Drotbohm (Mainz). With the participation of Jan Beek, Manuela Ivone Cunha, Marie-Christine Gabriel, Tom de Herdt, Barak Kalir, Annalena Kolloch, Konstanze N’Guessan, Timothy Raeymakers and Eva Riedke

Care in Crisis – Ethnographic Perspectives on Humanitarianism

Conference, 22 – 24 February 2018
Organizers: Heike Drotbohm (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz); Hannah Brown (Durham University)

Conference Report

The conference introduces the notion of care into studies of humanitarianism.  Care is a social activity produced by combinations of intimate and institutional practices. All of us need to be cared for, but care requirements are revealed more starkly and are often amplified in moments of acute need or emergency. At the same time, in emergency and disaster situations, quotidian care arrangements can themselves undergo a crisis. Everyday routines may need to be adapted and radically changing conditions can call into question established procedures, or demand alternative modes of action. Humanitarian intervention reconfigures caring institutions through new ways of knowing and representing suffering that emerge alongside organizational responses; it produces shifts in the organization and practice of care that profoundly reshape the sociality of those involved; and it is implicated in the production of new material environments that restructure the possibilities and limits of caring interventions. Contributors draw on ethnographic fieldwork to explore the mutual construction of entitlements, responsibilities and governance that shape practices of care in humanitarian contexts, as well as the moral underpinnings, materiality and lived realities of these dynamics.  ... 

Deportation, Anxiety, Justice: New ethnographic perspectives

Heike Drotbohm and Ines Hasselberg eds.: Deportation, Anxiety, Justice: New ethnographic perspectives. London: Routledge, 2017.  ... 

Anthropological Perspectives on Care: Work, Kinship, and the Life-Course

Erdmute Alber and Heike Drotbohm eds.: Anthropological Perspectives on Care: Work, Kinship, and the Life-Course. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015  ... 

Kultur, Gesellschaft, Migration. Die reflexive Wende in der Migrationsforschung

Boris Nieswand und Heike Drotbohm Hrsg.: Kultur, Gesellschaft, Migration. Die reflexive Wende in der Migrationsforschung. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2014  ... 

Zeitschrift für Ethnologie. Themenheft: Afroatlantische Allianzen

Heike Drotbohm und Ingrid Kummels Hrsg.: Themenheft: Afroatlantische Allianzen / Thematic Issue: Afro-Atlantic Alliances. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie Bd. 136/ 2. Berlin: Reimer, 2011.  ... 

Geister in der Diaspora. Haitianische Diskurse über Geschlechter, Jugend und Macht in Montreal, Kanada

Heike Drotbohm: Geister in der Diaspora. Haitianische Diskurse über Geschlechter, Jugend und Macht in Montreal, Kanada. Marburg: Curupira, 2005.  ...