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Prof. Dr. Gregor Dobler

 Professor for Social and Cultural Anthropology & Director of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology


+49 761 2033582

Room: 01007 (Werthmannstraße 10)

Office hours: by individual agreement by e-mail

Book a consultation appointment (ILIAS-Plattform)

Curriculum Vitae

  • 2019-2022: Head of the DFG Collaborative Research Centre 1015: Otium
  • 9/2019-2/2020 and 10/2022-09/2023: on parental leave
  • 2018/19: Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
  • since 2010: Professor at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Universität Freiburg
  • 2002-2010: Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Social Anthropology, Basel University (Switzerland)
  • 2001-2002: Lecturer at the Institute for Social Anthropology, Bayreuth University
  • 2000-2001: Lecturer at the Chair for Religious Studies, Bayreuth University
  • 1996-2002: PhD on consumption patterns and material culture on the Ile d’Ouessant (Bretagne/ France), 1800-2000. Scholarship by Cusanuswerk and collegiate in the graduate school „Intercultural relations in Africa", Bayreuth
  • 1991-1996: Studied Anthropology, Political Sciences, Anthropology of Europe in Freiburg/ Brsg., Berlin and Bayreuth

Co-Director of the Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies FRIBIS
Co-Director of the Africa Center for Transregional Reseearch at Freiburg University
Member of the Executive Committee of ABORNE (African Borderlands Research Network) and of the Advisory Board of ERC Project AFRIGOS,
Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Africa, the Editorial Board of Anthropology Southern Africa und the Advisory Board of the Journal of Namibian Studies.
Member of Frankreichzentrum.

Reviewer for research proposals e.g. for Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, DAAD, DFG, FCT Portugal, FWO Flanders, European Science Foundation, Romanian Research Assessment 2011, Siwss National Fund SNF, Czech Academy of Sciences.

Peer Reviewer e.g. for Africa, African Affairs, Africa Spectrum, China Quarterly, Forum for Development Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Journal of Modern African Studies, Social Anthropolgy, Sociologus, Urban Studies.

Key Publications

For a complete list of publications please click here

Dobler, Gregor/ Tilman Kasten (eds.) 2023: Muße und Mußeforschung. Ein Kompendium. Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck.
(Co-editor, co-author of introduction and author of four articles.)

Dobler, Gregor and Rita Kesselring. 2019. 'Swiss extractivism: Switzerland's role in Zambia's copper sector'. Journal of Modern African Studies 57 (2): 223-245.

Dobler, Gregor und Peter Philip Riedl, Hg. 2017. Muße und Gesellschaft. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

Dobler, Gregor. 2017. China in Namibia, 1990 to 2015: How a new actor changes the dynamics of political economy. Review of African Political Economy 44 (153): 449-465.

Dobler, Gregor. 2016. 'Work and Rhythm' revisited: Rhythms and experience in Northern Nambian peasant work. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 22 (4): 864-883.

Dobler, Gregor. 2016. The green, the grey and the blue: a typology of cross-border actors in Africa. Journal of Modern African Studies 54 (1): 145-169.

Dobler, Gregor. 2015. Fatal Words. Restudying Jeanne Favret-Saada. Anthropology of this Century 13.

Dobler, Gregor. 2014. Traders and Trade in colonial Ovamboland, 1925-1990. Elite Formation and the Politics of Consumption under Indirect Rule and Apartheid. Basel, Basel Africa Bibliographies. (Reviews: Africa 85 (4), 2015; Journal of African History 57 (1); Journal of Southern African Studies 42 (2), 2016; Journal of Namibian Studies 17 (2015), Afrika Süd 1/2016.)

Dobler, Gregor. 2009. Oshikango: the dynamics of growth and regulation in a Northern Namibian boom town. In: Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 35 (1): 115-131.

Dobler, Gregor. 2009. Chinese shops and the formation of a Chinese expatriate community in Namibia. China Quarterly 199: 707-727.

Dobler, Gregor. 2008. From Scotch Whisky to Chinese Sneakers. International commodity flows and trade networks in Oshikango, Namibia. In: Africa, Vol. 78 (3): 410-432.

Dobler, Gregor und Ulf Vierke. 2005. Aufblicke. Fotografien von John Liebenberg. Bayreuth.

Dober, Gregor. 2004. Bedürfnisse und der Umgang mit Dingen. Eine historische Ethnographie der Insel Ouessant, Bretagne, 1800-2000. Berlin: Reimer.


Regional Research Interests

Southern Africa
  • Namibia (since 2004): Economic and political anthropology; history.

  • Western France: Economic anthropology, consumption, witchcraft.


Research Topics

Theories and methods in Anthropology
  • Qualitative, phenomenologically oriented anthropology; Anthropology of the body; Anthropology's relation to its neighbouring disciplines.
Political Anthropology
  • Borders; States and statehood; Anthropology of power and domination.

Economic Anthropology
  • Trade; Consumption; international economic relations and their local effects.

Culture and Religion

  • Witchcraft, possession and other religious experiences; Otiose leisure.