Belonging in Motion: Questioning Certainties

28.10.2021 18:00 - 20:00

Mobility Lecture #8 with Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka

The lecture "Belonging in motion: questioning certainties" starts with a short review of the theory of belonging. It then considers how this theory helps us to grasp current identity struggles that take place in the academic realm ('Rhodes must fall'), in different fields of cultural production (translating Amanda Gorman), and in the media. It is argued that contemporary 'immigration societies' are in a process of transition, experiencing the influx of 'newcomers', not only into subordinate positions, but also into middle-class social spaces that are still dominated by a conventional 'mainstream'. Yet, the power of definition is increasingly challenged by 'newcomers' with diverse markers of difference – such as women, people of foreign ethno-national background, or persons whose orientations challenge the societal mainstream. The current battles are not just about identity and belonging but also about becoming.

Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka is professor in social anthropology at the Bielefeld University (Faculty of Sociology). She conducts research the Himalayan and in the South Asian region, in the middle-European immigration societies as well as within the social spaces of universities. Her contributions to the theory of belonging currently focus on the nexus of inequality, heterogeneity and power. Her newest project in the framework of the 'Shaping Asia'-program enquires into the knowledge production and circulation in Asia’s decolonising constellations.


The hybrid lecture will take place in person and via Zoom. If you are interested in attending in person, please register by sending an email to (max. 25 guests). The 2,5G-rule (PCR-tested, vaccinated or recovered from COVID) applies. The Zoom-link will be hosted here on the day of the lecture. 

The lecture will also be recorded and published on the research platform's Youtube channel. 



Research Platform Mobile Cultures and Societies
Seminar room 1, Department for African Studies