Michelle Engeler, PhD

Michelle Engeler is a postdoc at the center for African Studies, University of Basel, Switzerland. Her postdoc project is concerned with the im/mobile life plans and career trajectories, social relations and identities of highly skilled people of West African origin. Case studies include Burkina Faso, Guinea and Switzerland. 

Her PhD thesis (completed in 2013) focused on young people living in a Guinean border town. Key questions addressed young people's agency, different actors' life trajectories and the state in the making.

Michelle is also a project member of the SNSF-funded project Construire son Avenir and coordinator of the SNSF-funded scientific communication project Longing for the Future. She studied Social Anthropology, History and Geography at the University of Basel, Switzerland (lic.phil; 2006) and the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. After her studies she worked at the Museum der Kulturen, Basel (2006-2007) and was Assistant at the Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Switzerland (Political Geography) (2007-2009), and at the Institute for Social Anthropology in Basel, Switzerland (2011-2015).

During the academic year 2014/2015 Michelle was a fellow at re:work, the International Research Center 'Work and Human Lifecycle in Global History' at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Focus in Teaching

qualitative research methods, youth, political anthropology, migration/mobility

Focus in Research

anthropology of the state, youth studies, academic lifeworlds, migration/mobility, borderland, methodology, life history

Regional Focus

West Africa, in particular Guinea and Burkina Faso


Articles, reports, blog posts...

Engeler, Michelle: Journeys between the rural and the urban. Mobile graduates in West Africa. A*Magazin, 2017, 27.

Engeler, Michelle; Ammann, Carole: PÖK Guinea, Hamburg: GIGA 2017.

Engeler, Michelle: Being young in the Guinée Forestière. Members of youth associations as political entrepreneurs, in: Stichproben. Wiener Zeitschrift für kritische Afrikastudien 16 (30), 2016, S. 63-86.

Knierzinger, Johannes; Engeler, Michelle; Ammann, Carole: Guinea: spearhead of change or eternal maverick? Stichproben. Wiener Zeitschrift für kritische Afrikastudien 16 (30), 2016, S. 1-8.

Engeler, Michelle; Gerold, Jana: Living the reaspora: Afropolitans back home. Transformations-Blog, 2015.

Ammann, Carole; Engeler, Michelle: "Guinée is back?" Ein Land zwischen Wandel und Kontinuität, in: Afrika-Bulletin 152, 2013, S. 3.

Engeler, Michelle: Listening, experiencing, observing. Reflections on doing fieldwork, in: Basel Papers on Political Transformations (3), 2011, S. 20-24.

Korf, Benedikt; Engeler, Michelle; Hagmann, Tobias: The geography of warscape, in: Third World Quarterly 31, 2010, H. 3, S. 385-399.

Engeler, Michelle: Bilder von Staat, in: Tsantsa 14, 2009, S. 158-171.

Engeler, Michelle: Guinea in 2008: The unfinished revolution, in: Politique Africaine 112, 2008, S. 87-98.

Korf, Benedikt; Engeler, Michelle: Geographien der Gewalt, in: Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie 51, 2007, H. 3-4, S. 221-237.


Engeler, Michelle: Review: 50 Jahre Unabhängigkeit in Afrika. Kontinuitäten, Brüche, Perspektiven, in: The Journal of Modern African Studies 51, 2013, H. 4, S. 715-716.

Engeler, Michelle: Review: Child soldiers. Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front, in: African Affairs, 2011, S. 515-517.

Engeler, Michelle: Review: Making nations, creating strangers. States and citizenship in Africa, in: African Affairs 108, 2009, H. 431, S. 321-322.