Rita Kesselring

Dr. Rita Kesselring

Assistant / Postdoc (Professur Förster)


Ethnologisches Seminar
Münsterplatz 19
4051 Basel

Curriculum Vitae

For the 2018/2019 academic year, Rita Kesselring is replaced by Miriam Badoux for teaching, supervision and administration.

Rita Kesselring is Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Social Anthropology, University of Basel, Switzerland. She studied social anthropology, English linguistics and international law at the University of Zürich (lic.phil; 2007) and the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and obtained her PhD at the University of Basel in 2013. For her PhD thesis, she was awared the Young Scholars’ Award 2014 of the African Studies Association in Germany (VAD) and the Faculty Price 2013 of the Faculty of Humanities, University of Basel. From 2009 to 2010 and in 2012, she was a research fellow in the bilateral project “Safeguarding Democracy: Contests of Memory and Heritage” between the Chair of African History, University of Basel, and the History Workshop at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. In 2011, she spent 12 months as a visiting researcher at the Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut, USA, financed by an SNF writing fellowship. She was also a visiting researcher at the Department of Anthropology, University of Cape Town in 2012 and at the Dag Hammarskjöld Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of the Copperbelt, Zambia in 2015. Rita Kesselring is co-editor of the journal Anthropology Southern Africa and the JJ Bachofen Lecture Series and author of the book "Bodies of Truth: Law, Memory and Emancipation in Post-Apartheid South Africa" (Stanford University Press 2016). She leads and coordinates the interdisciplinary project Valueworks: Effects of Financialisation along the Copper Value Chain, for which she was awarded the University of Basel's Engagement Award 2017, and currently works on a book manuscript on new mining towns in the Northwestern Province of Zambia. During the 2018/2019 academic year, she will be a Fung Global Fellow at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University.

Focus in Teaching

The anthropology of the body, legal anthropology, the anthropology of memory, humanitarianism, the anthropology of the built environment, methodology, the ethnography of Zambia and various introductory courses in anthropology.

Focus in Research

Research areas: anthropology of the body, legal anthropology; post-conflict societies; memory, social change; methodology, built environment, urbanity, mining, local authorities
Regional focus: South Africa, Zambia; Southern Africa
Field research: South Africa: 2006 (6 months), 2009 (11 months), 2010 (3 months), 2012 (1 month), 2013 (1 month), 2017 (1 month); Zambia: 2013 (2 months), 2015 (10 months), 2016 (2 months), 2017 (2 months), 2018 (2 months)