Frederik Unseld

Frederik Unseld

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter (Professur Förster)


Ethnologisches Seminar
Münsterplatz 19
4051 Basel

Frederik Unseld

Curriculum Vitae

My general research interest lies in the sociology of East African cities, especially in artistic practices and their place in political culture.

My MA thesis presented an appraisal of works of the Tanzanian video film industry. Through a history of national popular culture and interviews conducted with actors and producers in 2011, I contextualized the then nascent industry. An analysis of selected works showed how the movies articulate a critique of contemporary society through representations of feminity in the city.

My PhD-project in Kisumu asks how the Western Kenyan city is experienced and constantly re-made by young adults inclined to art. With an approach that relies on both anthropology and art history, I look at the daily lived experience of artists and their works (poetry, painting, ‘artivism’) as well as at their urban audiences.

I’m especially interested in the ways in which young adults deal with the general repressive context characterized by different kinds of violence (election-related violence, police and gang violence, economic-structural violence).

I intend to argue that becoming an artist under such circumstances means many things at a time, but perhaps most crucially, to become a ‚competent‘ urbanite, looking for creative and constructive ways to counter the many uncertainties which growing up in urban Kenya entails.