Michaela Pelican is Junior Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Cologne. She is also the director of the University of Cologne Forum "Ethnicity as a Political Resource: Perspectives from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe" and a member of the Global South Studies Center Cologne (GSSC).
Previously, she was a lecturer at the University of Zurich and a researcher with the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale. She received her PhD from the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and her MA from the University of Bayreuth.
Her current focus is on South-South mobility and migrant transnationalism, and involves research in Cameroon, Gabon, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Concurrently, she is working on indigeneity in Africa, a topic that emerged from her previous research on interethnic relations and identity politics in Cameroon. Moreover, she has a strong interest in visual and media anthropology, and has been using methods of visual and theatre anthropology throughout her research.
In her teaching she concentrates on research methodology, political and social anthropology, anthropology of religion, and the anthropology of Africa. She has published on Fulbe agro-pastoral economy, farmer-herder relations, interethnic friendship, witchcraft, citizenship and indigenous rights, migrant transnationalism, and Fulbe mobility.