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Ethnicity as a Political Resource: Perspectives from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe

The University of Cologne (UoC) Forum “Ethnicity as a Political Resource: Perspectives from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe” comprises a body of researchers from the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology, the Department of Iberian and Latin-American History (IHILA), the interdisciplinary Research Network for Latin America ‘Ethnicity, Citizenship, Belonging’, and the Department of African Studies within the University of Cologne.

The Forum aims at promoting scientific exchange between researchers from different institutes within the University of Cologne as well as with national and international partners. Its objective is to strengthen the interdisciplinary and international dialogue on the formation of ethnic identities and their use as a political resource in diachronic and comparative perspective.

The diachronic approach allows us to investigate trajectories of emerging ethnic groups and ethnicity-based politics in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe; the comparative perspective elicits regional and historical differences and similarities. While much research has been conducted on the formation of ethnicity in different regions, the question whether it is meaningful to speak of a unified single process has remained unresolved. This question has repercussions for the conceptualization of ethnicity in pre-modern Europe and in pre-colonial settings on other continents as well as for our understanding of contemporary claims to indigeneity across the world. 

Further information

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Michaela Pelican, Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology
Dr. Albert Manke, Historisches Seminar 

Sofie Steinberger, M.A.
Tel.: 0221/470-4149
Email: forum-ethnicity(at)