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Michelle Thompson

Phd student


Short profile

Michelle Thompson studied Women and Gender Studies and Modern Languages (German, Spanish, Comparative Literature and Linguistics) at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada from 2009-2014. As part of these two bachelor's degrees, she completed the 2011-2012 academic year at Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany. During her studies in Saskatchewan, Michelle worked as a tutor for German and Spanish courses and as a cultural and language assistant at the Institute of English as a Foreign Language from 2012-2014

After a language study trip to Germany in 2015, Michelle began an M.A. degree in Anthropology at the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg the same year, which she successfully completed in spring 2018. Since October 2018, she has been a doctoral candidate and research assistant at the Research Training Group 1767 'Factual and Fictional Narrative' (funding period 2013-2021) in Freiburg im Breisgau. Her current research focuses on narratives about as well as conceptualizations, representations, and imaginaries of Native Americans in Germany.


Regional Research Focus

  • Canada (Prairie provinces / Numbered Treaties)
  • Germany


Thematic Research Focus

  • Narratives and Narrative Theoretical Approaches
  • Experimental Ethnographies
  • Collaborative Ethnography
  • Drawing as ethnographic method, Graphic Anthropology
  • Imagination, knowledge transfer and non-knowledge
  • Decolonial Theory, Settler-Colonial Studies



  • Winter Term 2019/2020: Ethnographic Writing - Examples from North America



  • Rohrer, Ingo und Michelle Thompson. (2022). Imagination theory: Anthropological perspectives. Anthropological Theory. DOI:10.1177/14634996221129117  
  • Thompson, Michelle. (2021). Die Körperlichkeit ethnologischer Forschung, jetzt anders. Kontrapunkte.
  • Thompson, Michelle. (2020). Using stories to understand myths in Canada: Reflections of story-based epistemology from an anthropological perspective. In T. Schmitt, A.-L. Harmening and M. Baumgärtner (Hrsg) Intersections of gender and myth in Canadian culture and media. Paderborn: Universitätsbibliothek Paderborn, 51-68. DOI: 10.17619/UNIPB/1-1073
  • Thompson, Michelle. (2018). Imagined stories and the (re)telling of fiction as fact – An anthropological case study examining reactions to German Indianthusiasm. Freiburger ethnologische Arbeitspapiere. DOI: 10.6094/UNIFR/16294



  • German Indianthusiasm in transatlantic context. Reactions and Interactions. Vortrag beim die Amerikas Forschungskolloquium. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. 17.11.2022, München.
  • Mining Imagination: An interactive exercise about German Indianer imaginaries. Vortrag beim DGSKA/Indigenes Nordamerika Zwischenworkshop. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. 02.06.2022, München.
  • Optimizing the narrative potential in visual representations of ethnographic research results. Lessons from Joe Sacco’s Paying the Land. Vortrag bei der EUCOR Trinational English M.A. and PhD Konferenz. Universität Basel. 8.-9.04.2022, Basel (CH).
  • Zur Graphic Anthropology: Lektionen aus der Erzählforschung und dem grafischen Roman Paying the Land von Joe Sacco. Vortrag beim Colloquium Americanum. Goethe-Universität. 27.05.2021, Frankfurt (online).
  • Inszenierte indigene Authentizität in ihrem institutionellen Rahmen. Vortrag bei der Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie (DGSKA)-Tagung “The end of negotiations”. 29.09.–02.10.2019, Konstanz.
  • Radical Responses: Indigenous-Settler reconciliation narratives and a (collective?) re-visioning of status-quo Treaty relationships. Vortrag bei der Jahrestagung der Polish Association for Canadian Studies. 25.-27.09.2019, Lodz (PL).  
  • Emplotting German “Indian” narratives with transatlantic occurrences from early colonization and the Romantic Era. Vortrag bei der Transatlantic Studies Association Annual Conference. 08.–10.07.2019, Lancaster (UK).
  • “The truth about stories…”: Indigener Umgang mit “Indianer”-Narrativen des deutschen kollektiven Bewusstseins. Vortrag beim Colloquium Americanum. Goethe-Universität. 04.07.2019, Frankfurt.
  • Approaching cultural myths ethnographically: Galvanizing women’s voices in modifying narratives. Vortrag bei der Tagung “Intersections of gender and myth in Canadian culture and media“ des Nachwuchsforums der Gesellschaft für Kanadastudien. 27.-28.06.2019, Kassel.
  • Commodifying Indigenous emotion work and unpaid emotional labour in decolonization and reconciliation work. Vortrag beim American Indian Workshop “Indigenous economies: Sustenance, sustainability, sovereignty”. 24.–27.04.2019, Poznań (PL).
  • A narratological approach to anthropological research? Vortrag bei der EUCOR Trinational English M.A. and PhD Konferenz. The University of Upper Alsace. 05.–06.04.2019, Mulhouse (FR).
  • (Re)telling German “Indian” narratives in leisure spaces. Vortrag beim Workshop “Otiose Leisure and Narration”. SFB Muße, Grenzen, Raumzeitlichkeit, Praktiken. 13.–14.12.2018, Freiburg im Breisgau.
  • Imaginierte (Geschichts-)Erzählungen – Auswirkungen des Nacherzählens. Vortrag beim ethnologischen Sommersymposium. Frobenius-Institut für kulturanthropologische Forschung, Goethe-Universität. 15.06.2018, Frankfurt.