Barbara Heer is a PostDoc in the SNF-Project “Making the City” and lecturer at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel. She is working as an applied anthropologist in the field of interreligious relations and migration, and she is a member of parliament in the canton Basel-Stadt (Grosser Rat, SP Fraktion). Barbara wrote her PhD thesis on “Space, Difference and the Everyday: A Comparative Ethnography of Neighbourhoods in Maputo and Johannesburg” and obtained her PhD in 2015. Within the scope of her PhD, she was a research affiliate at the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, and a visiting scholar at the History Workshop, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg. She conducted 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork in these two cities. Her PhD project focused of spaces of encounters (shopping malls, religious spaces, domestic work etc.). By focusing on the micro-level of interactions, she analysed how sociality in these cities is shaped by the spatial and social divisions. She has been awarded several scholarships for her PhD project.
Barbara Heer studied Social Anthropology, as well as Economics and Gender Studies at the University of Basel (lic.phil, 2008). During an exchange semester at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, she conducted her first ethnographic field research (on backpacker tourism in the Transkei). Her Master thesis, entitled “The Journey of Table Mats from the Cameroon Grassfields to Basel. Anthropological Inquiry into a Fair Trade Commodity Chain”, was published in 2009.
Focus in Teaching
Public anthropology, anthropology of gender, history of anthropology, methodology, fundamentals in anthropology
Focus in Research
Research areas: urban anthropology, urban spaces, difference and inequality, urban encounters, neighbourhood politics, shopping malls, religious spaces, migration
Regional focus: Southern Africa (South Africa, Mozambique), Switzerland