Detailed information about the course

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Intimacy, Im/mobility, and Belonging


September 12-13, 2024


Prof. George Paul Meiu, UNIBAS

Dr. Michael Stasik, UNIBAS

Kaue Crima Bellini, UNIBAS

Claudine Rakotomanana,UNIBAS


Dr. Megha Amrith, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany

Prof. S.N. Nyeck, University of Colorado Boulder, USA


This module explores recent intersections of intimacy, im/mobility, and belonging to understand their significance for wider domains of social, economic, and political life. Over the last three decades, the number of people moving within and across borders has grown spectacularly, as have concerns over the permeability of cultures, regions, or nations. Intimacy has become a salient "engine of mobility." As people migrate in search for ways to establish and regenerate familial and affective attachments-and to detach themselves from others-intimacy sets bodies in motion in unexpected ways. But intimacy becomes also an evocative means and motive of separation, immobility, and loneliness. 

Anchored in comparative ethnographic reflections across different regions, this workshop explores the nexus intimacy-im/mobility-belonging as a "triad"-that is, a salient grid of the political economy of late capitalism that shapes social worlds in ways that require careful examination. The anthropological literatures on intimacy; migration and mobility; and belonging and citizenship have overlapped only minimally. To the extent that anthropologists have discussed, for example, "intimate mobilities," they have deployed these terms to refer narrowly to sexuality and migration. By contrast, this module sets out to think of (i) intimacy as also entailing kinship, affect, and the contemporary political discourses that center personal and domestic life; (ii) mobility as entangling migration in myriad intersecting forms of movement but also immobility or sedentarism; and (iii) belonging as negotiated through the regulation of intimate mobilities. Thinking thus of "intimate im/mobilities" involves an effort to decenter these terms precisely in order to better understand the historical centrality of the triad intimacyim/ mobility-belonging in the present. 

This module's goals are to bring together theoretical and methodological tools to (i) understand how the triad intimacy-im/mobility-belonging manifests on a global scale; (ii) capture differences and similarities between its unfoldings in these different sites; and (iii) assess its particularities along different contexts of im/mobility and migration. We will host two social scientists whose work has been pivotal to anthropology and whose innovative concepts and methodologies can inspire young generations of anthropologists.


Information on invited experts:

Megha Amrith leads the 'Ageing in a Time of Mobility' Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. Her research focuses on migrant labor, care, ageing and inequalities, primarily in Southeast Asia, but also drawing upon comparative ethnographic perspectives.

S.N. Nyeck is Associate Professor in Africana/Gender Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Nyeck has been at the forefront of queer studies in Africa and has published extensively on topics of queerness, politics, gender equity, ethics, religion, and human rights. She is author of Queer Presence: Ethics and Politics of Negotiation (Palgrave 2021), editor of the Routledge Handbook of Queer African Studies (Routledge, 2020), and co-editor of Sexual Diversity in Africa: Politics, Theory and Citizenship (with Marc Epprecht) McGill-Queen's University Press, 2013).




Schwarzsee, Hotel Bad


Participation fee: CHF 60 

For students of the CUSO universities (Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchâtel and Fribourg) and from the universities of Bern, Zürich, Luzern, Basel and St. Gallen, accommodation and meals are organised and covered by the CUSO doctoral program in anthropology. 

Travel expenses will be reimbursed via MyCUSO based on half-fare train ticket (2nd class) from the student's university to the place of the activity.



Deadline for registration 09.08.2024
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