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Cultural and Social Anthropology

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Team > Paolo Gaibazzi, PD Dr.

Gaibazzi Paolo 180x180 Paolo Gaibazzi, PD Dr.
Gaibazzi Paolo 180x180

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Social Anthropology


  • Since July 2020: Heisenberg Position on "AfroEuropean Frontiers," Chair for Social Anthropology, University of Bayreuth

Scientific Career

  • Feb. 2012 - Dec. 2019: Senior Researcher and Vice-Coordinator (2015-19) of Research Unit: “Progress: Ideas, Agents, Symbols”, ZMO–Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin
  • Mar. - July 2019: Guest Lecturer, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität, Berlin
  • July 2017: Habilitation for Professorship in Social and Cultural Anthropology granted by the Italian Ministry of Education and Research (Abilitazione Nazionale Scientifica Settore Concorsuale 11/A5, Seconda Fascia)
  • May 2017: Visiting Fellow, Academy of Advanced African Studies, University of Bayreuth
  • Oct. 2016 – Mar. 2017: Guest Lecturer, Humboldt University, Institute for Asian and African Studies (IAAW), Berlin
  • 2006 – 2016: Research Associate, Ethnological Mission in Benin and West Africa (MEBAO) (PI: A. Bellagamba), University of Milan-Bicocca. Funder: Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Clusters: “Historical Legacy and Current Practices of Mobility”; “Memories of Slavery”.
  • 2013 – 2016: Research Associate, PRIN Project “State, Plurality, Change in Africa” (PI: P. Valsecchi), University of Pavia. Funder: Italian Ministry for Education and Research.
  • Aug. - Sept. 2016: Visiting Professor of Anthropology, University Agostinho Neto, Faculty of Social Sciences, Angola
  • Oct. 2010 – Jan. 2012: Lecturer, Department of Anthropology and Philology, University of Latvia, Riga
  • Aug. – Sept. 2011: African Borderlands Research Network (ABORNE) Visiting Researcher, Centre for African Studies, ISCTE, Lisbon. Supported by an Exchange Visit Grant from the European Science Foundation,
  • Nov. 2005 – May 2010: PhD in Anthropology of the Contemporary World, University of Milan-Bicocca. Dissertation: “Soninke Young Men, Migration and the Dynamics of Staying Behind, The Gambia”, Supervisor: Prof. Alice Bellagamba
  • Sept. 2009 – Apr. 2010: Programme Coordinator, Postgraduate Specialisation Degree Anthropology of Migration, University of Milano-Bicocca.
  • Sept. 2004 – Sept. 2005: MSc in Visual Anthropology, University of Oxford
  • Oct. 1999 – July 2002: BA in Social Anthropology (First Class Honours), University of Kent at Canterbury
Gaibazzi Paolo 180x180

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Social Anthropology


I am interested in the social possibilities emerging from movement and stasis. As part of my current project on AfroEuropean Frontiers – which is supported by Heisenberg-Programme of the German Research Foundation (DFG) – I explore how the multiple boundaries between Africa and Europe are shifting under the current regimes of migration and bordering. Ethnographic work in rural Southern Italy will expand and complement current work on the externalization of migration management in the Euro-African zone. This goes towards integrating a North-South perspective on migration and its governance with a South-South, non-Eurocentric perspective resulting from previous research on African migration.

My monograph Bush Bound: young men and rural permanence in migrant West Africa explores how young men willy-nilly stay put in a Gambian village of heightened but stalled male emigration, and bear the onus of regenerating agrarian futures. Questions of social reproduction and change successively brought me to Angola, to investigate how a long-standing West African Muslim trading diaspora adapts to globalizing markets and migration governance.

Woven into the threads of my research is the analysis of post-slavery relations in West Africa and in the West African diaspora. With reference to the highly transnational Soninke-speaking milieu, my work documents the persisting inequalities, the paths of emancipation and the movements of contestation unfolding from the official end of internal slavery in West Africa.

Finally, fieldwork on precarious livelihoods in the Gambia and on the boom-and-bust Angolan economy has prompted me to tackle questions of contingency and potentiality. My work seeks to unravel the ethical, existential and cosmological depths of living a life marked by uncertainty and yet pregnant with possibility. Among others, this has resulted in a collective attempt to breathe new life into classic debates on fate, fortune and work in Africa

Research Interests

Migration, Im/mobility and Border Regimes; Post-Slavery, Rural Youth; Trade and Economic Ethic; Contingency and Potentiality; Fate and Fortune in Islam.

Current Projects

AfroEuropean Frontiers

Gaibazzi Paolo 180x180

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Social Anthropology



Gaibazzi, Paolo
Moving-with-Others : Restoring Viable Relations in Emigrant Gambia
in Migration and Society vol. 2 (2019) issue 1. - pp. 26-39
doi:10.3167/arms.2019.020104 ...

Gaibazzi, Paolo
Smith, Daniel Jordan: To Be a Man Is Not a One‐Day Job : Masculinity, Money, and Intimacy in Nigeria. Chicago, 2017
American Anthropologist
doi:10.1111/aman.13162 ...

Gaibazzi, Paolo
Stalling (for time) : Temporalities of Business in the Angolan Oil Crisis
in Africa : Rivista Semestrale di Studi e Ricerche. N.S. vol. 1 (2019) issue 2. - pp. 9-24


Gaibazzi, Paolo
Back Way to Babylon : (Unauthorized) Migration and Postcolonial Consciousness in the Gambia
In: Gualtieri, Claudia(ed.): Migration and the Contemporary Mediterranean : Shifting Cultures in Twenty-First-Century Italy and Beyond - Oxford: Peter Lang, 2018. - pp. 245-262

Gaibazzi, Paolo
West African Strangers and the Politics of Inhumanity in Angola
in American Ethnologist vol. 45 (2018) issue 4. - pp. 470-481
doi:10.1111/amet.12702 ...


EurAfrican Borders and Migration Management : Political Cultures, Contested Spaces, and Ordinary Lives
publ: Gaibazzi, Paolo; Bellagamba, Alice; Dünnwald, Stephan
New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2017
doi:10.1057/978-1-349-94972-4 ...

Gaibazzi, Paolo
From Expulsion to Extortion : Deportability, Predatory Policing and West African Migrants in Angola
in Citizenship Studies vol. 21 (2017) issue 8. - pp. 969-983
doi:10.1080/13621025.2017.1380604 ...

Gaibazzi, Paolo
Frontiers of Exodus : Activists, Border Regimes and Euro-Mediterranean Encounters After the Arab Spring
In: Gaibazzi, Paolo ; Bellagamba, Alice ; Dünnwald, Stephan(ed.): EurAfrican Borders and Migration Management : Political Cultures, Contested Spaces, and Ordinary Lives - New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. - pp. 197-217
doi:10.1057/978-1-349-94972-4_9 ...

Gaibazzi, Paolo
The Homing of the Diaspora : Ancestral Households and the Politics of Domestic Centering in Rural Gambia, West Africa
In: Carment, David ; Sadjed, Ariane(ed.): Diaspora as Cultures of Cooperation - Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. - pp. 91-109
doi:10.1007/978-3-319-32892-8_5 ...

Gaibazzi, Paolo; Bellagamba, Alice; Dünnwald, Stephan
Introduction : An Afro-Europeanist Perspective on EurAfrican Borders
In: Gaibazzi, Paolo ; Bellagamba, Alice ; Dünnwald, Stephan(ed.): EurAfrican Borders and Migration Management : Political Cultures, Contested Spaces, and Ordinary Lives - New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2017. - pp. 3-28
doi:10.1057/978-1-349-94972-4_1 ...


Gaibazzi, Paolo
Post-slavery refractions : Subjectivity and slave descent in a Gambian life story
in Africa vol. 86 (2016) issue 3. - pp. 405-424
doi:10.1017/S0001972016000310 ...

Gaibazzi, Paolo
Sovranità e controllo diffuso della mobilità nel regime dei visti
in Antropologia vol. 3 (2016) issue 2. - pp. 47-60
doi:10.14672/ada2016751%25p ...


Gaibazzi, Paolo
Bush Bound : young men and rural permanence in migrant West Africa
Oxford ; New York : Berghahn Books, 2015

Fate and Fortune in Africa
publ: Gaibazzi, Paolo; Gardini, Marco
Critical African Studies

Gaibazzi, Paolo
The quest for luck : fate, fortune, work and the unexpected among Gambian Soninke hustlers
in Critical African Studies vol. 7 (2015) issue 3. - pp. 227-242
doi:10.1080/21681392.2015.1055534 ...

Gaibazzi, Paolo; Gardini, Marco
The work of fate and fortune in Africa
in Critical African Studies vol. 7 (2015) issue 3. - pp. 203-209
doi:10.1080/21681392.2015.1075413 ...


Gaibazzi, Paolo
Visa problem : Certification, kinship, and the production of "ineligibility" in the Gambia
in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute vol. 20 (2014) issue 1. - pp. 38-55
doi:10.1111/1467-9655.12078 ...


Gaibazzi, Paolo
Buggenhagen, Beth: Muslim Families in Global Senegal : Money Takes Care of Shame. Bloomington, 2012
Journal of Religion in Africa
doi:10.1163/15700666-12341266 ...

Gaibazzi, Paolo
Cultivating hustlers : the agrarian ethos of Soninke migration
in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies vol. 39 (2013) issue 2. - pp. 259-275
doi:10.1080/1369183X.2013.723257 ...

Gaibazzi, Paolo
Diaspora without homeland : slave descendants and the cultural politics of ancestry in the Upper Gambia River Valley
in Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales vol. 29 (2013) issue 1. - pp. 23-43
doi:10.4000/remi.6253 ...

Gaibazzi, Paolo
Two Soninke "Slave" Descendants and their Family Biographies
In: Bellagamba, Alice ; Green, Sandra E. ; Klein, Martin A.(ed.): African Voices on Slavery and the Slave Trade - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. - pp. 522-535


Gaibazzi, Paolo
"God's Time is the Best" : Religious Imagination and the Wait for Emigration in The Gambia
In: Graw, Knut ; Schielke, Samuli(ed.): The Global Horizon : expectations of migration in Africa and the Middle East - Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2012. - pp. 121-135

Gaibazzi, Paolo
Home as Transit : Would-Be Migrants and Immobility in Gambia
In: Streiff-Fénart, Jocelyne ; Segatti, Aurelia(ed.): The Challenge of the Threshold : Border Closures and Migration Movements in Africa - Lanham: Lexington Books, 2012. - pp. 163-176

Gaibazzi, Paolo
The rank effect : post-emancipation immobility in a Soninke village
in The Journal of African History vol. 53 (2012) issue 2. - pp. 215-234
doi:10.1017/S0021853712000382 ...


Gaibazzi, Paolo
Migrazione, Coesione e Translocalità nell'Unità Domestica Soninke (Gambia Orientale)
In: Bellagamba, Alice(ed.): Migrazioni : Dal Lato dell'Africa - Pavia: Edizioni Altravista, 2011. - pp. 81-102


Gaibazzi, Paolo
"I'm Nerves!" : Struggling with Immobility in a Soninke Village (The Gambia)
In: Grätz, Tilo(ed.): Mobility, Transnationalism and Contemporary African Societies - Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publ., 2010. - pp. 106-137

Gaibazzi, Paolo
Qui, nell'Altrove : giovani, migrazione e immaginazione geo-sociale nel Gambia rurale
in Mondi Migranti (2010) issue 3. - pp. 117-129
doi:10.3280/MM2010-003008 ...


Gaibazzi, Paolo; Bellagamba, Alice
"Babilonia", oppure? : Mobilità internazionale e logiche d'appartenenza nella Repubblica del Gambia
In: Bellagamba, Alice(ed.): Inclusi/Esclusi : Prospettive africane sulla cittadinanza - Torino: UTET Univ., 2009. - pp. 86-115


Bellagamba, Alice; Gaibazzi, Paolo
Nient'altro da votare : Dinamiche di partecipazione politica e disillusione nella Repubblica del Gambia (Africa Occidentale)
In: Viti, Fabio(ed.): Dipendenza personale, lavoro e politica - Modena: Il Fiorino, 2008

Gaibazzi Paolo 180x180

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Social Anthropology

Paolo Gaibazzi, PD Dr.
Heisenberg Position at the Chair for Social Anthropology

University of Bayreuth
Building: Zapf Haus 4
Room: 4.2.30
Universitätsstraße 30
​D-95447 Bayreuth

E-mail: paolo.gaibazzi@uni-bayreuth.de
Homepage: Anthropology | Universität Bayreuth

Webmaster: Dr.habil. Paolo Gaibazzi

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