Social and Cultural Anthropology

Karin Pfister, MA

Research Associate


Abteilung für Ethnologie
Burgsteige 11
72070 Tübingen
Room 127


Email: karin.pfisterspam

Office Hours

Please make an appointment via email.


Research Foci

  • Sexualities
  • Love
  • Sexual economies / intimate eocnomies
  • Gender conception
  • Queering anthropology
  • Sexism
  • New materialism
  • Marxist feminism
  • Alternative Epistemologies
  • Decolonizing knowledge
  • Regionale interests: Southern Africa, Germany


Summer semester 2019

Title: Sozial- und Wirtschaftsethnologie (Social and Economic Anthropology)


Module: ETH-BA-04-2


This course takes place in combination with the lecture of the same module. Therefore, the core questions and topics of the lecture are the groundwork of the this course.

As opposed to the lecture, the course enables the participants to discuss the topics of the lecture in small groups and to consolidate the content of the lecture through diverse methods in order to attain a basic understanding of social and economic anthropology.

Besides attaining a basic understanding, the course is about developing a sense for anthropological issues and about practising to integrate economic topics of anthropology in the broader spectrum of anthropological concerns, into which they can and should be placed.

Winter semester 2018/19

Title: Religions- und Politikethnologie (Religious and Political Anthropology)


Module: ETH-BA-06-2

Description: The course is an introduction to religious and political anthropology and is offered in combination with the lecture. The course is obligatory for all students.

summer semester 2018

Title: Writing lab - Conquering the blank space
Module: optional (MA students)


Description: The Writing lab was designed to assist students with their various writing projects.

Winter semester 2017/18

Title: Sexismus – hausgemacht oder fremdbestimmt?! (Sexism - homemade or imposed by outsiders?!)


Module: ETH-BA-3 / 5


Sexism is a topic of permanent social relevance, even though it seems to have become a new problem of previously unimaginable dimension mainly because of the events in Cologne on the New Year's Eve 2015/2016. This can be gathered from the subsequent media coverage and the political clamors for more security and control, as well as for stricter rules for the immigration of refugees. This gives the impression that sexism is imposed from the outside and therefore substantially connected to "the culture" of the refugees. To the contrary, many activists and journalists - and alongside them many of those affected - have emphasised, using #Aufschrei (#outcry) and the ensuing debate on sexism, that sexism and sexist behavior is part of many people's - mainly women's - everyday experiences in Germany, rather than composing a singular event, such as the one in cologne. 

This gives rise to numerous questions: What does the New Year's Eve in Cologne have to do with sexism and sexist violence in our society?  Is it commensurable at all? Where do the commonalities lie? And where the fundamental differences? Why is sexist behavior in the cases in which refugees are the perpetrators condemned but whenever German citizens commit sexist acts - as was the case with the "Fall Brüderle" ("case Brüderle") it is downplayed as an imaginary or petty matter? Who decides what is sexist and what isn't? Do we all speak of the same thing whenever we talk about sexism? What is sexism actually? Who is able to be sexist? Where do the roots of sexist behaviour lie? And which answers does science offer?

Summer semester 2017

Title: Sexualitäten in Afrika (Sexualities in Africa)


Module: BA-03 / BA-08


In academic and public discourse sexualities are often spoken of in the singular form. This expresses the mindset that human sexuality is a uniform phenomenon that is experienced the same way in different contexts. However, contemporary debates in anthropology and other humanities emphasise thediversity of sexual behavior and experience and advocate the use of the plural term: sexualities.

The objective of the course is to develop an understanding of sexuality as not solely biological, but also as a phenomenon influenced by diverse sociocultural aspects.  These aspects are to be discussed and interconnected by focusing on selected debates and topics of contemporary anthropological research on sexualities in the African context.

The course comprises two segments. In the first segment the focus lies on gaining a basic understanding of the theoretical groundwork in order to grasp the concepts of sexualities from a historical and cultural perspective.

In the second segment selected topics, which are central to the current debate in anthropological research on sexualities in Africa, are discussed. This includes female circumcision, HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, transactional relationships, plyamory and affects. Aspects that these topics have in common, and that influence and define sexual relationships or concepts of sexualities, are to be mapped out, based on the previously attained theoretical background.

Workshops and Talks

11/2017 - Sex und Sexismus - eine gemeinsame Sprache finden (Workshop)

Date: 10.11.2017

Workshop: Sex und Sexismus - eine gemeinsame Sprache finden (Sex and Sexism - finding a common language). A workshop inaugurating an anti-sexism campaign in cooperation with the Asylzentrum Tübingen e. V. (the centre for asylum seekers Tübingen), Berghof Foundation, and the WILLE-Projekt of the anthropological department.

11/2016 - "Doing sex" (Talk)

Date: 28.11.2016
Talk: Medical Anthropology Forum, Südasieninstitut, Universität Heidelberg


Title: „Doing sex“ - Sexual networks and their implications for the spread of HIV/AIDS in Botswana.

01/2016 - „Every pimp gotta dress his lady“ (Talk)

Talk: Doktorand*innenclub der Graduiertenkademie (the doctoral candidate association of the graduate academy), University of Tübingen


Title: „Every pimp gotta dress his lady“ - Sex- und Austauschbeziehungen in Botsuana (Sex- and exchange relations in Botsuana)

11/2015 - „Every pimp gotta dress his lady“ (Talk)

Talk: Symposium des Vereins Baden-Württembergischer Wissenschaftlerinnen (Wettbewerb des Maria Gräfin von Linden-Preises)

(symposium at the Association of Baden-Wuertemberg Researchers [contest of the Maria Countess von Linden Award])


Title: „Every pimp gotta dress his lady“ - Sex- und Austauschbeziehungen in Botsuana (Sex- and exchange relations in Botsuana)

Awards and Scholarships



Sustainability Award for Theses at the University of Tübingen for the Magisterarbeit (MA thesis) "Big Houses and Small Houses" - Kulturspezifische Konzepte im Zusammenhang mit der Übertragung von HIV in Botsuana (culturally specific concepts concerning the transmission of HIV in Botsuana).

11/2013 - 06/2016

Doctoral scholarship of the University of Tübingen at the mini research training group "Netzwerke und Ressourcenkomplexe" (networks and resource complexes) of the SFB1070 RessourcenKulturen.