/ Studium, Doktorat

PhD scholarships at the ZASB: "Sexuality, mobility and political economy in Africa"

Eingangsbereich ZASB, Rheinsprung 21

The Centre for African Studies Basel calls for applications for two three-year doctoral positions in Social Anthropology or African Studies funded by the Humer Foundation for Academic Talent.

Thematic framework: "Sexuality, mobility and political economy in Africa"
Over the past three decades, in Africa as elsewhere, the effects of urbanization and market liberalization, emerging modes of value production, consumption, and social reproduction, and shifting forms of governance have also given rise to new kinds of mobility and migration. For many, sexuality has been central to imagining and actualizing migratory trajectories. Sexual economies in large urban areas and tourist resorts attract youths with the possibility of quick wealth, conspicuous consumption, or travel abroad. Queer people and sex workers often move as migrants or refugees to places where they hope to gain access to public health or sexual rights advocacy groups. Meanwhile, NGOs, religious organizations, and state officials seek to attend to the myriad social, medical, and moral implications of these various forms of sexualized mobility. As eroticized commodities and media circulate more widely on African markets, members of a growing middle class also travel domestically and internationally, engaging in humanitarianism, consumption, or religious reforms that revolve around sexuality.
This research initiative examines comparatively various forms of movement that produce and deploy racialized and/or ethnicized sexualities as central means of consumptive fantasies, modes of value production, disciplinary regimes, and strategies of investment in the future. Examining the implications of new forms of sexualized mobility for gender, kinship, and domesticity; money and the moralization of wealth; ritual and religion; rising forms of moral securitization and militarization; and new forms of consumption, embodiment, style, and self-making, this project takes sexuality as a key domain for understanding the politics of contemporary mobility and its continuities and discontinuities with colonial discourse and practice, both on the African continent and between Africa and the wider world.
Focusing centrally on the role sexuality plays in facilitating movement, doctoral candidates will contribute to a growing anthropological literature on global migrations and, more specifically, to the scholarship on African migrations on continent and beyond. Candidates are expected to undertake rigorous, in-depth studies of instances of sexualized mobility in a particular set of contexts. They should develop a profound understanding of the historical, social, and political sites in which they do fieldwork, preferably already speak the local language, and pursue ethnographic research in ways that are rich, imaginative, and driven by sharp conceptual questions.

Your position
The scholarship allows you to develop your research question and methodological framework, conduct research, analyse your data, and write your thesis within the framework of the Basel Graduate Network African Studies and the Graduate School of Social Sciences G3S under the supervision of Prof. Dr. George Paul Meiu (Social Anthropology). You will be in a position to concentrate fully on your research project over a period of three years.

Your profile

  • hold an excellent Master's degree or equivalent qualification in Social Anthropology or a related discipline;
  • present an original idea for a research project relating to the sexuality, mobility, and political economy;
  • have very good research and writing skills;
  • commit themselves fully to their PhD project during the funding period and aim at completing their project within the said period;
  • meet the requirements for admission to PhD studies at the University of Basel.


We offer you
We offer an international, multidisciplinary work environment and excellent research infrastructure and a workplace in the heart of Basel. Compensation will be according to the guidelines of the University of Basel.

Application / Contact
Your application includes
1. a letter of motivation (not exceeding two pages);
2. a curriculum vitae (not exceeding two pages and including a list of publications, if applicable);
3. a short proposal (1500-2500 words) relating to sexuality, mobility, and political economy.
4. copies of undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas complete with transcripts (please note that the overall grade received for the Master degree is relevant for admission);
5. the contact details of two referees (university professors or lecturers);
6. one or two writing samples (including Master's thesis or equivalent).

Submit your application as PDF files using only the recruiting online tool of Basel University.
For more information, please visit our website: or contact Prof. George Paul Meiu

The application deadline is 31 May 2022.