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 Prof. Heike Becker

Position: Professor
Department: Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Faculty: Faculty of Arts
Qualifications: MA (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) Germany, PhD (University of Bremen)
Tel: +27 21 9593548
Fax: +21 21 9592830


 Heike Becker is professor in social and cultural Anthropology. She has carried out extensive research in Southern Africa and has published on a wide range of topics, including social memory, national identity, as well as gender, culture, politics and law in Namibia, and popular culture, belonging, identity, and citizenship in South Africa. 

She directs the Aesthetics, Politics and Diversity research focus in the Department of Anthropology & Sociology, where she has been lecturing since 2001 on social identity, kinship & gender, belief and ritual, popular culture, visual culture, multiculturalism and diversity, and anthropological theory. She was previously at the University of Namibia, and has been a fellow at Manchester University, the University of Missouri, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, and the University of Cape Town.

Recently Becker, with colleagues and postgraduate students from Anthropology, Sociology, Cultural Studies, and Gender Studies, has been exploring the connections between popular culture, performance, belonging, and citizenship in contemporary South Africa, and elsewhere on the African continent. Through a series of case studies, including – among others – the emergence of Muslim ‘hijab’ fashion, the changing musical and visual forms of the Cape Town carnival, and the practices of young performers from the city’s townships, the interdisciplinary team appraises sociocultural diversity, popular culture, and everyday social interaction in the Cape Town metropolitan area.

Related research interests include African immigrants in South Africa, and new popular cultural forms, including the new information and communication technologies (particularly cellphones), and local forms of global popular culture movements, such as hip-hop (including crews rapping in local languages), and the growing attraction of the West African video movie industries (‘Nollywood’) for young audiences in southern Africa. More recently, Becker has carried out exploratory, comparative research in East Africa (Kenya and Rwanda).





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