© Dorothea Schulz

Prof. Dr. Dorothea Schulz

Geschäftsführende Direktorin

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Studtstraße 21
D-48149 Münster
Tel.: +49 251 83-27312


Fields of interest

My research, publications, and teaching are centered on the Anthropology of Religion, of Mental Health and Spiritual Wellbeing, Political Anthropology, Islam in Africa, Gender Studies and Media Studies. I also bring to my research and teaching a strong background in critical theory, social theory, and the anthropology of social organization. I have extensive field research experience in West and East Africa, particularly in southern Mali and southwestern Uganda.
In my new book “Political Legitimacy in Postcolonial Mali” (https://www.amazon.com/Political-Legitimacy-Postcolonial-Western-Africa/dp/184701268X), I capitalize on my long-standing acquaintance with Malian politics and social history to make sense of the political crisis that has shaken the country for more than a decade. My analysis centers on the attitudes, judgments and practices by which inhabitants of a rural area in southwestern Mali attribute (or disclaim) the legitimacy of the state and of individual powerholders. I also draw on my earlier work on praise-singers – often referred to as "griots"– whose mass-mediated performances aimed to bestow praise and legitimacy on Mali’s changing political regimes, At the heart of this analytic endeavor is an effort to interrogate different dimensions, meanings and limits of political legitimacy in Mali.

Since 2014, I have embarked on a research project that addresses questions pertaining to the broader thematic fields of religious pluralism and of spiritual and emotional well-being. Drawing on empirical research on Muslim minorities in two different regions of Uganda, I address the interplay between mental health, mourning, emotional coping, and future-making in a society haunted by traumatic experiences related to civil war. My analysis reaches beyond common approaches to „trauma“ through a sustained attention to the discursive and auditory practices and symbolic-aesthetic forms through which Muslims and Christians seek to achieve greater public prominence and to partake in debates over the ordering of moral and social life. By situating these dynamics in the broader context of Ugandan state politics, I explore points of articulations and tensions between local-level and national politics of religious difference, and between conflicting understandings of how past “trauma“ can be healed.

  • Research Focus

    • Anthropology of Religion
    • Health and Well-being
    • Political Anthropology
    • Islam in Africa
    • Gender Studies
    • Media Anthropology



  • Teaching

    Teaching in the Summer Semester 2023



    03.04.23 - 10.07.23, Mo 10-12, STU 105 (2.10)



    14-täglich, 12.04.23 - 12.07.23, Mi 16-18, STU 105 (2.10)
    Einzeltermin, 12.06.23, Mo 16-18, F4

    along with:  Prof. Dr. Basu


    Transcultural Encounters

    03.04.23 - 10.07.23, Mo 14-16, STU 105 (2.10)



    03.04.23 - 10.07.23, Mo 16-18, STU 105 (2.10)


    Teaching in the Winter Semester 2022/23


    Transatlantic Health and Healing
    17.10.22 - 30.01.23, Mo 16-18, SRZ 116

    in cooperation with:  Helmar Kurz


    Teaching in the Summer Semester 2021

    084872 Forschungsfelder
    14.04.21 - 19.05.21, Mi 12-14
    02.06.21 - 21.07.21, Mi 12-14

    along with:  Prof. Dr. Basu and  Prof. Dr. Timm

    084884 Forschungskolloquium
    12.04.21 - 17.05.21, Mo 14-16
    31.05.21 - 19.07.21, Mo 14-16
    084891 Institutscolloquium
    14-täglich, 14.04.21 - 19.05.21, Mi 16-18
    14-täglich, 02.06.21 - 21.07.21, Mi 16-18
    084892 Writing a Project Proposal
    12.04.21 - 17.05.21, Mo 16-18
    31.05.21 - 19.07.21, Mo 16-18
    084896 Master- and PhD-Colloquium
    12.04.21 - 17.05.21, Mo 14-16
    31.05.21 - 19.07.21, Mo 14-16


    Teaching in the Winter Semester 2020/21

    082831 Theorie und Geschichte der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie
    Mi 12-14, SCH 100.2
    082881 Institutscolloquium
    04.11.20 - 10.02.21, Mi 16-18
    082882 Foundations of Empirical Research
    02.11.20 - 08.02.21, Mo 16-18
    082889 Master- and PhD-Colloquium


    Teaching in the Summer Semester 2020

    080884 Forschungskolloquium
    080890 Institutscolloquium
    080891 Writing a Project Proposal
    080896 Master- and PhD-Colloquium


    Teaching in the Winter Semester 2019/20


    Theorien, Begriffe und Methoden
    09.10.19 - 29.01.20, Wed 12-14, SCH 100.2

    along with:   Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Timm


    14-daily, 16.10.19 - 29.01.20, Wed 16-18, STU 105 (2.10)

    in cooperation with:   Prof. Dr. Helene Basu


    Foundations of Empirical Research
    14.10.19 - 27.01.20, Mo 10-12, STU 105 (2.10)


    Master- and PhD-Colloquium
    n. V.

  • Key Publications

    Monographs and edited Volumes

    2021 Political Legitimacy in Postcolonial Mali. Oxford: James Currey.
    2015 (eds. with Ute Röschenthaler): Cultural Entrepreneurship in Africa. London, New York: Routledge
    2012 Muslims and New Media in West Africa. Pathways to God. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    2012 Culture and Customs of Mali. Abc-Clio/ Greenwood Publishers, Santa Barbara, CA
    2012 (eds., with Patrick Desplat) Prayer in the City. Muslim urban life and practices of sacred place making. Bielefeld: Transcript Publishers
    2010 (eds. with Jochen Seebode): Prisma und Spiegel. Ethnologie zwischen postkolonialer Kritik und Deutung der eigenen Gesellschaft. Hamburg: Argument Publishers
    2001 Perpetuating the Politics of Praise: Jeli praise singers, radios and political mediation in Mali. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag

    Articles and book chapters

    2021 The hunter hype. Producing “local culture” and particularity in Mali.: in: Comaroff, Jean; Comaroff, John; Meiu, George (eds.): Ethnicity, Commodity, In/corporation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 250-287.
    2021 “Trusting is a Dicey Affair”.Muslim Youth, Gender Relations, and Future-Making in Southwestern Uganda. In: Inghorn, Marica; Nancy Smith-Hefner (eds.): Waithood: Gender, Education, and Global Delays in Marriage. Oxford, New York: Berghahn.
    2018 Carving out a space for equal political citizenship? Muslim Politics of Remembrance in Uganda. In: Gräf, Bettina et al. (eds.): Ways of Knowing Muslim Cultures and Societies: Studies in Honour of Gudrun Krämer. Leiden: Brill, pp. 376-393.
    2016 (with S. Diallo) Competing Assertions of Muslim Masculinity in Mali. Journal of Religion in Africa 46: 219-250.
    2016 Scholarship on Gender Politics in the Muslim World. Some Critical Reflections. In: Léon Buskens, Annemarie van Sandwijk (eds.): Islamic Studies in the Twenty-first Century: Transformations and Continuities. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 109-133.
    2016 “Shari’a” as a moving target? The reconfiguration of national and regional fields of debate in Mali. in: Hefner, Robert (eds.): Shari’a Law and Modern Ethics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    2016 Between transnational and local aesthetic standards: beauty pageants in Mali. In: Röschenthaler, Ute; Mamadou Diawara (eds.): Copyright Africa: How intellectuals property, media and markets transform immaterial cultural goods. Canon Pion: Sean Kingston
    2015 Mediating authority. Media technologies and the Generation of Charismatic Appeal in Southern Mali. Culture and Religion. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14755610.2015.1058525
    2015 Mediale Klangräume als soziale Räume: Medienethnologische Überlegungen zur Untersuchung auditiver Medienpraxis. In: Bender, Cora; Martin Zillinger (eds.): Handbuch der Medienethnographie. Berlin: Reimer.
    2014 Transmitting Divine Grace. On the Materiality of Charismatic Mediation in Mali. In: Martin Zillinger et al. (eds.): Trance Media and New Media. New York: Fordham Press.
    2013 Engendering Muslim Self-Assertiveness: Muslim Schooling and Female Elite Formation in Uganda. Journal of Religion in Africa 43: 396-425.
    2013 What makes a good minority Muslim? Educational policy and the paradoxes of Muslim schooling in Uganda. Contemporary Islam 7(1): 53-70.



  • Vita

    Academic education

    2005 Habilitation, Institut für Ethnologie, Freie Universität (FU) Berlin (venia legendi für Ethnologie)
    1990 Magistra Artium in Ethnologie, Soziologie und Biologie an der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
    1984 - 1990 Studium der Ethnologie, Soziologie und Biologie an der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

    Professional Career

    since 03.2018 Professor (W3) of socio-cultural Anthropology, Institut für Ethnologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität (WWU) Münster
    2008 - 2018 Professor (W2) of socio-cultural Anthropology, Philosophische Fakultät, Universität zu Köln
    2005 - 2008 Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington (USA)
    1997 - 2004 Lecturer, Institut für Ethnologie, FU Berlin
    1996 Lecturer, Frobenius-Institut, Frankfurt am Main
    1993 - 1996 M. Phil. und Ph.D., Department of Social & Cultural Anthropology. Yale University. New Haven (USA)


  • Scholarships and awards

    2016 Fellow, Center for AFrican Studies - Harvard University (USA)
    2011 Fellow, Berlin Graduate School "Muslim CUltures and Societes" (USA)
    2010 Prize for excellence in teaching, University of Colon
    2010 Visiting scholar, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Oslo (Norwegen)
    2005 Fellow, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University, Ithaca (USA)
    2000 Visiting Scholar, Dept. of Anthropology. University of Chicago (USA)
    1996 Prize Frobenius, University of Frankfurt


  • Editorial Board and other services

    2006- Lit Verlag Series “Mande Studies”
    2015- Konstanz University Press Series “Ethnographien”
    2015- Expert Representative “Anthropology/Islamic Studies”, Alexander-von-Humboldt-Program
    2019- Expert Representative/Member of the Senate, DFG (German Science Foundation)
    2019- Member of Scientific Board, Institute for Advanced Studies, Berlin


  • Current Projects / Research - (Third-party Funding)

    EXC 2060 B3-20 - Testing and contesting religious pluralism in Uganda (2019 - 2025)
    Drittmittel: DFG - Exzellenzcluster - Förderkennzeichnen: EXC 2060/1
    The auditory making of religious pluralism in Uganda (2019 - 2020)
    Drittmittel: DFG - Sachbeihilfe/Einzelfördrung - Förderkennzeichnen: SCHU 1276/14 -1
    Projecting Futures: Resource use conflict, intergenerational tensions, and competing visions of future-making in the Rift Valley, Kenya;
    Drittmittel DFG, Teilprojekt im SFB „Future Rural Africa“ (Köln/ Bonn) (2018-2022)


  • Completed projects (third-party funding)

    2011-2016 2 Funding periods: DFG FOR 1501, “Mediality and local creativity in the negotiation of social-ecological resilience, collapse, and reorganization”, Teilprojekt im Rahmen der Forschergruppe “Resilience, Collapse, and Reorganisation in Social-Ecological Systems in Africa’s Savannahs”
    2011-2016 2 Funding periods: DFG SCHU 1276-10/1-2: Mass-mediated trans local field of Senegalese migrants in Europe

    DFG SCHU 1276-11/1: Migratory projects of immobile actors: Expectations, Discourse and practices of male youth in the port city of Mahajanga / Madagascar