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Olaf Zenker

olaf.zenker@unifr.ch

  • Biografie

    After earning Master’s degrees in Social Anthropology (LSE) and Linguistics & Literature (University of Hamburg), I did my PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology and the Martin Luther University in Halle in 2008, and subsequently became a Postdoc in the Max Planck Fellow Group Law, Organisation, Science and Technology (LOST). In 2009, I joined the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern as Assistant Professor, where I also held an Ambizione Research Fellowship (SNSF) from 2012 to 2015, and received my Habilitation in 2015. Apart from Visiting Fellowships at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), the University of Cambridge (UK) and Harvard University (USA), I held Professorships at the University of Cologne and the Freie Universität Berlin, before joining the University of Fribourg in 2017. Since 2018, I am longer term Visiting Fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS) in South Africa. Focusing on Southern Africa, Northern Ireland and Germany, my research has dealt with political issues such as statehood, bureaucracy, the rule of law, modernity, inequality, justice, conflict and identity formations, as well as sociolinguistics and anthropological epistemologies. → FULL CV

  • Publikationen

    Monographs and Edited Volumes

     

    In preparation-a: Land restitution and the moral modernity of the new South African state: a project in recursive anthropology [working title of the book manuscript].

    In preparation-b: Ohnmacht und Ermächtigung im Umgang mit Flucht: Berlin ein Jahr nach dem langen Sommer der Migration 2015 [“Powerlessness and empowerment in the context of refuge and flight: Berlin one year after the long summer of migration 2015”]. Bielefeld (transcript) [Edited volume based on a research seminar with students in Berlin].

    Forthcoming-a: Oxford Handbook of Law and Anthropology. Oxford (Oxford University Press) [co-edited with Marie-Claire Foblets, Mark Goodale and Maria Sapignoli].

    2018a: The state and the paradox of customary law in Africa. London (Routledge) [co-edited with Markus Höhne].

    2017a: Gerechtigkeitsgefühle: zur affektiven und emotionalen Legitimität von Normen. [“Sentiments of justice”]. Bielefeld (transcript) [co-edited with Jonas Bens].

    2016a [2017b as paperback]: South African homelands as frontiers: apartheid’s loose ends in the postcolonial era. London (Routledge) [Reprint of 2015a, co-edited with Steffen Jensen].

    2015a: Homelands as frontiers: apartheid’s loose ends. In: Journal of Southern African Studies 41(5) [Special Issue, co-edited with Steffen Jensen].

    2015b: Transition and justice: negotiating the terms of new beginnings in Africa. Malden (Wiley-Blackwell) [Reprint of 2014a, co-edited with Gerhard Anders].

    2014a: Transition and justice: negotiating the terms of new beginnings in Africa. In: Development and Change 45(3) [Special Issue, co-edited with Gerhard Anders].

    2013a [2016b as paperback]: Irish/ness is all around us: language revivalism and the culture of ethnic identity in Northern Ireland. New York/Oxford (Berghahn Books).

    2010a [2013b as paperback]: Beyond Writing Culture: current intersections of epistemologies and representational practices. New York/Oxford (Berghahn Books) [co-edited with Karsten Kumoll].

    2004: Techniken zur kommunikativen Herstellung von Gruppenzugehörigkeit: Eine Gesprächsanalyse über Imagearbeit bei Obdachlosen [“Communicative strategies for constructing group membership: a discourse analysis on face-work among homeless people”]. Berlin (dissertation.de - Verlag im Internet).

    2001: Ethnizität und politischer Aktivismus: Eine Fallstudie über drei jugendliche Aussiedler in Hamburg [“Ethnicity and political activism: a case study on three ethnic German repatriates from Russia”]. München (Grin Verlag).

     

    Articles and Book Chapters (peer-reviewed)

     

    In preparation-c: Ohnmacht und Ermächtigung im Umgang mit Flucht: eine Einleitung [“Powerlessness and empowerment in the context of refuge and flight: an introduction]. In: Olaf Zenker [ed.]: Ohnmacht und Ermächtigung im Umgang mit Flucht: Berlin ein Jahr nach dem langen Sommer der Migration 2015. Bielefeld (transcript).

    Under review: Politics by other means revisited: legal activism and land reform in post-apartheid South Africa. In: Political and Legal Anthropology Review (PoLAR).

    Forthcoming-b: Legal pluralism, communal land tenure and multiple livelihoods in South Africa’s countryside. In: Journal of Legal Pluralism.

    Forthcoming-c: Politics of belonging. In: Marie-Claire Foblets, Mark Goodale, Maria Sapignoli and Olaf Zenker [eds.]: Oxford Handbook of Law and Anthropology. Oxford (Oxford University Press).

    Forthcoming-d: Mind the gaps: renegotiating South African legal pluralism within the post-apartheid state. In: Katrin Seidel/Hatem Elliesie [eds.]: Normative spaces in Africa: constructing, contesting, renegotiating and adapting dynamics in motion. London (Routledge).

    Forthcoming-e: Sentiment. In: Jan Slaby/Christian von Scheve [eds.]: Affective Societies – Key Concepts. London (Routledge) [co-authored with Jonas Bens].

    2018b: Land restitution (old and new), neo-traditionalism and the contested values of land justice in South Africa. In: Jessica Johnson/George Karekwaivanane [eds.]: Pursuing justice in Africa: competing imaginaries and contested practices. Cambridge Centre of African Studies Series. Athens (Ohio University Press): 243-263.

    2018c: Language and identity. In: Hilary Callan [ed.]: International Encyclopedia of Anthropology – Section: The Anthropology of Politics, Law, Power and Identity. Malden (Wiley-Blackwell). URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118924396.wbiea2271

    2018d: Processing the paradox: when the state has to deal with customary law. In: Olaf Zenker/Markus Höhne [eds.]: The state and the paradox of customary law in Africa. London (Routledge): 1-40 [co-authored with Markus Höhne].

    2018e: Bush-level bureaucrats in South African land restitution: implementing state law under chiefly rule. In: Olaf Zenker/Markus Höhne [eds.]: The state and the paradox of customary law in Africa. London (Routledge): 41-63.

    2018f: Why the individual must be defended ~ seemingly against all anthropological odds: In Marie-Claire Foblets, Marie-Claire Foblets/Michele Graziadei/Alison Dundes Renteln [eds.]: Personal autonomy in plural societies: a principle and its paradoxes. London (Routledge): 98-111.

    2017c: Umbenennung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde e.V. in Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie e.V. am 6.10.2017 in Berlin [Renaming the German Anthropological Association from „Völkerkunde“ into „Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie“ on 6 October 2017 in Berlin]. In: Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 142(2): 133-140 [co-authored with Hansjörg Dilger and Birgitt Röttger-Rössler].​

    2017d: Gerechtigkeitsgefühle: eine Einführung [“Sentiments of justice: an introduction”]. In: Jonas Bens/Olaf Zenker [eds.]: Gerechtigkeitsgefühle. Bielefeld (transcript): 11-35 [co-authored with Jonas Bens].

    2017e: From identification to framing and alignment: a new approach to the comparative analysis of collective identities. In: Current Anthropology 58(3): 340–359 [co-authored with John Eidson, Dereje Feyissa, Markus V. Hoehne, Boris Nieswand, Günther Schlee and Veronika Fuest].

    2016c: South African homelands as frontiers: apartheid’s loose ends in the postcolonial era – an introduction. In: Steffen Jensen/Olaf Zenker [eds.]: South African homelands as frontiers: apartheid’s loose ends in the postcolonial era. London (Routledge): 1-16 [Reprint of 2015c, co-authored with Steffen Jensen].

    2016d: South African land restitution, white claimants and the fateful frontier of former KwaNdebele. In: Steffen Jensen/Olaf Zenker [eds.]: South African homelands as frontiers: apartheid’s loose ends in the postcolonial era. London (Routledge): 83-98 [Reprint of 2015d].

    2016e: Anthropology on trial: exploring the laws of anthropological expertise. In: International Journal of Law in Context 12(3): 293-311.

    2015c: Homelands as frontiers: apartheid’s loose ends – an introduction. In: Journal of Southern African Studies41(5): 937-952 [co-authored with Steffen Jensen].

    2015d: South African land restitution, white claimants and the fateful frontier of former KwaNdebele. In: Journal of Southern African Studies 41(5): 1019-1034.

    2015e: Failure by the numbers? Settlement statistics as indicators of state performance in South African land restitution. In: Richard Rottenburg/Sally Engle Merry/ Sung-Joon Park/Johanna Mugler [eds.]: A world of indicators: the making of governmental knowledge through quantification. Cambridge (Cambridge University Press): 102-126.

    2015f: De-judicialization, outsourced review and all too flexible bureaucracies in South African land restitution. In: The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 33(1): 81-96.

    2015g: Transition and justice: an introduction. In: Gerhard Anders/Olaf Zenker [eds.]: Transition and justice: negotiating the terms of new beginnings in Africa. Malden (Wiley-Blackwell): 1-19 [Reprint of 2014b, co-authored with Gerhard Anders].

    2015h: New law against an old state: land restitution as a transition to justice in post-apartheid South Africa? In: Gerhard Anders/Olaf Zenker [eds.]: Transition and justice: negotiating the terms of new beginnings in Africa. Malden (Wiley-Blackwell): 113-134 [Reprint of 2014c].

    2014b: Transition and justice: an introduction. In: Development and Change 45(3): 395-414 [co-authored with Gerhard Anders].

    2014c: New law against an old state: land restitution as a transition to justice in post-apartheid South Africa? In:Development and Change 45(3): 502-523.

    2014d: Linguistic relativity and dialectical idiomatization: language ideologies and second language acquisition in the Irish language revival of Northern Ireland. In: Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 24(1): 63-83.

    2014e: Writing Culture. In John Jackson [ed.]: Oxford Bibliographies Online: Anthropology. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press. URL: http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199766567/obo-9780199766567-0030.xml

    2012a: The juridification of political protest and the politicisation of legalism in South African land restitution. In: Julia Eckert/Brian Donahoe/Christian Strümpell/Zerrin Özlem Biner [eds.]: Law against the state: ethnographic forays into law's transformations. Cambridge (Cambridge University Press): 118-146.

    2012b: On prophets, godfathers, rebels, and prostitutes: distributed agency in the Irish language revival of Northern Ireland. In: Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 137(1): 23-45.

    2011a: Autochthony, ethnicity, indigeneity and nationalism: time-honouring and state-oriented modes of rooting individual-territory-group-triads in a globalising world. In: Critique of Anthropology 31(1): 63-81.

    2010b: Between the lines: Republicanism, dissenters and the politics of meta-trauma in the Northern Irish conflict. In: Social Science & Medicine 71(2): 236-243.

    2010c: Prologue: opening doors beyond Writing Culture. In: Olaf Zenker/Karsten Kumoll [eds.]: Beyond Writing Culture: 1-38 [co-authored with Karsten Kumoll].

    2010d: Language matters: reflexive notes on representing the Irish language revival in Catholic West Belfast. In: Olaf Zenker/Karsten Kumoll [eds.]: Beyond Writing Culture: 121-138.

    2009a: Autochthony and activism among contemporary Irish Nationalists in Northern Ireland, or: if “civic” nationalists are “ethno”-cultural revivalists, what remains of the civic/ethnic divide? In: Nations and Nationalism15(4): 696-715.

    2009b: Response to Joep Leerssen. In: Nations and Nationalism 15(4): 720-722.

    2006: De facto exclusion through discursive inclusion: autochthony in discourses on Irishness and politics in Catholic West Belfast. In: Paideuma 52: 183-195.

     

    Other Publications

    Forthcoming-fAbstammung ["Descent & Filiation"]. In: Mihran Dabag [ed.]: Lexikon nicht-staatlicher Gruppen und Gemeinschaften im Mittelmeerraum. Paderborn (Wilhelm Fink).

    Forthcoming-gAutochthonie ["Autochthony"]. In: Mihran Dabag [ed.]: Lexikon nicht-staatlicher Gruppen und Gemeinschaften im Mittelmeerraum. Paderborn (Wilhelm Fink).

    Forthcoming-h: Ehe ["Marriage"]. In: Mihran Dabag [ed.]: Lexikon nicht-staatlicher Gruppen und Gemeinschaften im Mittelmeerraum. Paderborn (Wilhelm Fink).

    Forthcoming-iVerwandtschaft ["Kinship"]. In: Mihran Dabag [ed.]: Lexikon nicht-staatlicher Gruppen und Gemeinschaften im Mittelmeerraum. Paderborn (Wilhelm Fink).

    2014f: White claimants and the moral community of South African land restitution. Halle (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Working Paper No. 151).

    2014g: Review: Melancholia of Freedom. Social Life in an Indian Township in South Africa, by Thomas Blom Hansen. In: American Ethnologist 41(2): 384-385.

    2013c: Landreform in Südafrika: Die Neuauflage der Landrückerstattung setzt falsche Akzente [“Land reform in South Africa: the re-opening of land restitution leads to a dead end”]. In: Afrika-Bulletin [Special Issue on "Land conflicts in southern Africa"] 151: 6-7.

    2012c: The indicatorisation of South African land restitution. Basler Afrika Bibliographien, Basel (BAB Working Paper 2012:01).

    2011b: Land restitution and transitional justice in post-apartheid South Africa. Halle (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Working Paper No. 134).

    2010e: Review: Crisis of the state. War and social upheaval, edited by Bruce Kapferer and Bjørn Enge Bertelsen. In: Anthropological Notebooks 16(2): 80-81.

    2009c: Diskussionsbeitrag zu Meyers und Schareikas „Neoklassische Feldforschung“ [“Discussion of Meyer’s and Schareika’s article on ‘neoclassical fieldwork’” in the same issue]. In: Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 134(1): 107-109.

    2009d: The formation and mobilization of collective identities. Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Working Papers. No. 116 [co-authored with Brian Donahoe, John Eidson, Dereje Feyissa, Veronika Fuest, Markus V. Hoehne, Boris Nieswand & Günther Schlee].

    2009e: Between the lines of socio-cultures of trauma: Republicanism, dissenters and the politics of meta-trauma in the Northern Irish conflict. Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Working Papers. No. 115.  

    2008: Review: Flag, nation and symbolism in Europe and America, edited by Thomas Hylland Eriksen and Richard Jenkins. In: Anthropological Notebooks 14(1): 123-124.

    2005: Irische Identität und irische Sprache im Spannungsfeld von Diskurs und Praxis im katholischen West-Belfast, Nord-Irland [“Irish identity and the Irish language in discourse and practice in Catholic West Belfast”]. In: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology [ed.]: Bericht: Sonderausgabe 2005. Halle/Saale (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology): 109-118.

    2003: The people themselves: the everyday making of ethnic identity in discourse and practice in the context of conflict in West Belfast, Northern Ireland. In: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology [ed.]: Report 2002-2003. Halle/Saale (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology): 131-136.