I am a social anthropologist whose regional specialization is West Africa. After having obtained a doctorate at Free University Berlin and a "habilitation" at Mainz University, I taught at universities in Germany (Frankfurt/Main, Mainz, Halle/Saale), Switzerland (Zurich) and Sweden (Uppsala). Since 2012 I have been a full professor at Leipzig University. Since then I conducted research projects on gold mining, city life and vigilantes.
2022 City Life in Africa. Anthropological Insights. London/New York: Routledge.
2009 Bitteres Gold. Bergbau, Land und Geld in Westafrika. Köln: Köppe.
1997 Nachbarinnen. Das Alltagsleben muslimischer Frauen in einer nigerianischen Großstadt. Frankfurt/Main: Brandes & Apsel.
1992 Zen und Sinn. Westliche Aneignung, Interpretation und Praxis einer buddhistischen Meditation. Frankfurt/Main: Institut für Kulturanthropologie und Europäische Ethnologie. (Notizen 38).
- 01/1997 - 12/2001
Postdoc, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany
- 04/2002 - 02/2009
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and African Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany
- 10/2003 - 09/2004
Visiting Professor, Department of Anthropology and African Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany
Habilitation in Socio-Cultural Anthropology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
- 01/2000 - 12/2007
Coordinator, Working Group Africa, German Anthropological Association (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Voelkerkunde dgv)
- 03/2009 - 12/2011
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and African Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, German
- 04/2010 - 09/2010
Visiting Professor, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
- 09/2010 - 07/2011
Guest Professor, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Zurich, Switzerland
- 01/2012 - 07/2012
Senior Lecturer, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Universität Uppsala, Schweden
- since 09/2012
Full Professor for Society, Politics and Economy in Africa, Leipzig University
- 01/2004 - 12/2015
Editorial board, Africa Spectrum
- since 01/2015
Editorial board, Sociologus
- since 12/2015
Series Editor, "African Social Studies", Brill
- since 06/2004
Executive Board and Advisory Committee, Association for African Studies in Germany (VAD e.V.)
Magister Artium in European Cultural Anthropology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt/Main
- 01/1992 - 01/1993
DAAD scholarship for dissertation fieldwork in Nigeria
- 01/1993 - 01/1996
Dissertation writing scholarship, Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst e.V.
Doctorate (Dr. phil.) in Socio-Cultural Anthropology, Free University Berlin
My research interests focus on social and economic processes in rural and urban, Anglophone and Francophone West Africa. For my dissertation, I studied the everyday lives of Muslim women in the Nigerian city of Kano. At University Frankfurt/Main, I worked on the impact of an agricultural development project and artisanal gold mining in southwestern Burkina Faso. At the University of Mainz, I researched Islamization in the city of Bobo-Dioulasso and its surrounding area. Industrial gold mining in Burkina Faso and Tanzania was the subject of a subproject I led in SFB 1199 at the University of Leipzig. I also directed two research projects on urban socio-spatial navigation and on vigilantes in Burkina Faso.
2014 „Sind Städte in Afrika ‚unkennbar‘? Ethnologische Stadtforschung in Afrika“. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 139, 2, 159-178.
2014 „Local Religion or Cult-Shopping? A Sacrificial Site in Burkina Faso“. Anthropos 109, 399-409.
2012 „Transformations d’une élite musulmane en Afrique de l’Ouest: le cas des Jula au Darsalamy (Burkina Faso)“. Cahiers d’Études africaines, LII (4), 208, 845-876.
2003 „The President of the Gold Diggers: Sources of Power in a Gold Mine in Burkina Faso“. Ethnos 68(1): 95-111.
2002 „Matan Bariki, ‘Women of the Barracks’. Muslim Hausa Women in an Urban Neighbourhood in Northern Nigeria“. Africa 72(1): 112-130.
- Local Self-Governance for the Provision of Security: Vigilantes in Burkina FasoWerthmann-Kirscht, KatjaDuration: 03/2019 - 03/2022Funded by: DFG Deutsche ForschungsgemeinschaftInvolved organisational units of Leipzig University: Gesellschaft, Politik und Wirtschaft in Afrika
- Doing the City: Socio-Spatial Navigation in Urban AfricaWerthmann-Kirscht, KatjaDuration: 10/2017 - 09/2020Funded by: DFG Deutsche ForschungsgemeinschaftInvolved organisational units of Leipzig University: Gesellschaft, Politik und Wirtschaft in Afrika
- Werthmann-Kirscht, K.; Grätz, T. (Eds.)Mining frontiers in Africa : anthropological and historical perspectivesKöln: Köppe. 2012
- Werthmann-Kirscht, K.Introduction : identités urbaines à Bobo-DioulassoIn: Werthmann-Kirscht, K.; Sanogo, M. L. (Eds.)La ville de Bobo-Dioulasso au Burkina Faso : urbanité et appartenances en Afrique de l'Ouest. Paris: Karthala. 2013. pp. 7-41
- Castryck, G.; Strickrodt, S.; Werthmann-Kirscht, K. (Eds.)Sources and Methods for African History and Culture: Essays in Honour of Adam JonesLeipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag. 2016
- Werthmann-Kirscht, K.The drawbacks of privatization: Artisanal gold mining in Burkina Faso 1986-2016Resources Policy. 2017. pp. 418-426
- Werthmann-Kirscht, K.; Ayeh, D.Processes of Enclaving under the Global Condition: The Case of Burkina FasoSFB 1199. 2017
In the BA African Studies, the courses introduce various social and economic aspects. The seminars in the MA African Studies deal with forms of livelihood and lifestyle and with questions of "development".
03-AFR-1200 Society and Economy in Africa
The lecture introduces aspects of social and economic action in contemporary Africa. It outlines answers to questions such as "Do women in Africa work for their husbands?", "How reliable are figures on the economy in Africa?", "Is 'civil society' in Africa conducive to democracy?" or "How corrupt are African countries?".
03-AFR-1200 Society in Africa
The course "Society in Africa" deepens the topics of the lecture by means of selected texts from anthropology, sociology of development, social geography and economic history.
03-AFR-1300 Development Policy and Development Cooperation
In this course we deal with German and European institutions and forms of development policy and development cooperation with Africa as well as the criticism of them.
03-AFR-1502 Local Economic Development in Africa
The seminar deals with forms and actors of local economic development in Africa in the context of global interdependencies. Using historical and current examples, topics such as pre-colonial trade networks, colonial agricultural policy, industrialization, export of raw materials, cash crops, gender and entrepreneurship will be discussed. This also involves problematizing the term "development" and its use in academic and political debates.
03-AFR-1506 Current Issues
The course "Current Issues" deals with current events in Western and Central Africa, e.g. by means of an evaluation of media reports.
03-AFR-1606 Current Issues
The course "Current Issues" deals with current events in Eastern and Southern Africa, e.g. by means of an evaluation of media reports.
03-AFR-1702 Society in Africa
In this seminar we discuss ethnological and sociological theories of social organization and sociocultural belonging in Africa. We look at different forms of social structures and relationships, such as family, neighborhood, ethnicity, middle class, corruption or civil society.
03-AFR-2113 Debates about Development
In this seminar, we engage with humanities and social science debates on development in Africa. After an introduction to the history of the concept of development, we analyze critical perspectives from anthropology, history, political science and sociology of development. We discuss various topics such as development and (post-)colonialism, development and gender, African socialism and capitalism, entrepreneurship and informal economy.
03-AFR-2115 Ways of Life and Livelihoods in Africa
This seminar explores the diversity of lifestyles and livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa, using trade diasporas, the "informal" sector, resource extraction, and gendered forms of entrepreneurship as examples. Students will read and discuss theoretical, methodological, and applied approaches to the study of income generation and lifestyles and milleus in rural and urban Africa in the context of global economic and social processes.