Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Dilger


Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin & Head of Department

Field of Activity

Head of the Research Area Medical Anthropology

Address Mailing address : Landoltweg 9-11 Office address: Thielallee 52
Room 008
14195 Berlin
Telephone +49 (0)30 838 56872
Fax +49 (0)30 838 52382

Office hours


  • 1999-2004  Ph.D. in Social Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin. Thesis: “The Power of AIDS. Kinship, Belonging and the Morality of Illness and Death in the Context of Rural-Urban Migration in Tanzania”

  • 1991-98 Magister Studies in Social Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin.  Minor subjects: African Studies and English Studies (both Humboldt Universität Berlin)

  • 1993 Kiswahili Studies on Zanzibar, Institute for Kiswahili and Foreign Languages (Taasisi ya Kiswahili na Lugha za Kigeni)


Academic Positions

  • 2005-09  Assistant Professor for African Health and Society (tenure track), University of Florida, Gainesville, Department of Anthropology and Centre for African Studies. (Leave of absence in 2007-09)

  • 2002-2005  Lecturer and Part-time lecturer, FU Berlin, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology

  • 1999-2002  Research Associate in the Project "Living with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania", funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (PI: Prof. U. Luig), FU Berlin, Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology


Other Academic Activities

Honors, Grants and Scholarships

  • Since 2011 Research Partner of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (Göttingen), Division "Medical Diversity"
  • 2010-13 Senior Fellow of the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS)
  • 2010 Grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG) for international workshop "Urban Health in sub-Saharan Africa" (Point Sud, Bamako: January 12-15, 2010) (With Dr. Viola Hörbst, Centre for African Studies, Lisbon Universitarian Institute)
  • 2009 Grant of the Volkswagen Foundation for international symposium on "Prolonging Life, Challenging Religion? ARVs, New Moralities and the Politics of Social Justice" (Lusaka, April 15-17, 2009). (With Rijk van Dijk, African Studies Centre Leiden; Marian Burchardt, Universität Leipzig; Thera Rasing, University of Zambia). More Info...
  • 2007 Senior Researcher, Summer School "Entangled Medical Fields: Transformation of Meaning, Knowledge and Practice"; Libreville, Gabon: July 17-26. Organized by: Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Africa, Frankfurt (ZIAF), Point Sud, Université de Nantes, Université Omar Bongo; funded by Volkswagen Foundation.
  • 2007 Selected participant at the Sixth Berlin Roundtables on Transnationality, topic: "Population Politics, Migration and Human Rights". Organized by the Irmgard Coninx Foundation in collaboration with Wissenschaftszentrum. Berlin (WZB): February 14-20
  • 2006 University of Florida, International Center und Office for Research: Conference grant for workshop "Transnational Medicines, Mobile Experts: Rethinking Medicine in and beyond Africa".
  • 2005 German Research Foundation (DFG), Grant for Post-Doc Research Project on "Masculinities and AIDS in Cape Town, South Africa". (Declined because of acceptance of position at the University of Florida)
  • 2005 Conference Grant by the Volkswagen Foundation and the FU Berlin for International Symposium "AIDS and the Moral Order". (With U. Luig)
  • 2004 Geschwister Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, Book Publication Grant
  • 2004 Research Commission of the FU Berlin, Grant for exploratory work for research project "Masculinities and AIDS in Cape Town, South Africa"
  • 1999 Heinrich Böll Foundation, Scholarship for Ph.D. Studies (6 months), followed by funding through DFG
  • 1993 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Scholarship for Kiswahili Studies on Zanzibar, Taasisi ya Kiswahili na Lugha za Kigeni

Memberships and Positions

Research interests

  • Research Interests: Anthropology of religion (esp. Pentecostalism and Islam); Medical anthropology (esp. HIV/AIDS, anthropology of biomedicine, transnationalization of health, medicine and healing); Sexuality, kinship and gender (esp. masculinities); transnationalism and migration; Urban anthropology; Anthropology of education and learning.

  • Regional: Eastern and Southern Africa (Tanzania, South Africa); migratory contexts

  • Current research project: “Religion, Education and the State: Christian and Muslim Schools in the Context of Neoliberal Reform Processes in Dar es Salaam”

Research grants


Books (selection):

Articles (Selection):

  • 2015 (Hansjörg Dilger, Bernhard Hadolt): Medicine in Context: Towards a Social and Cultural Anthropology of Medicine(s) in an Interconnected World. In: Medicine, Anthropology, Theory 2 (3).
  • 2015 (Hansjörg Dilger, Susann Huschke, Dominik Mattes): Ethics, Epistemology and Engagement: Encountering Values in Medical Anthropology. In: Medical Anthropology 34 (1): 1-10.
  • 2014 (Leah F. Bohle, Hansjörg Dilger, Uwe Groß): HIV-serostatus disclosure in the context of free antiretroviral therapy and socio-economic dependency: experiences among women living with HIV in Tanzania. In: African Journal of AIDS Research 13 (3): 215-227.
  • 2014 Claiming Territory: Medical Mission, Interreligious Revivalism, and the Spatialization of Health Interventions in Urban Tanzania. In: Medical Anthropology 33(1), Special Issue "Turning Therapies: Placing Medical Diversity" (ed. by David Parkin, Kristine Krause and Gabi Alex): 52-67.
  • 2013 (Hansjörg Dilger, Dorothea Schulz): "Politics of Religious Schooling: Christian and Muslim Engagements with Education in Africa," Introduction to Special Issue of Journal of Religion in Africa 43 (4) (guest editors: D. Schulz, H. Dilger): 365-378. Read article [pdf]
  • 2013 Religion and the Formation of "Unequal subjects" in an Urban Educational Market: Transnational Reform Processes and Intertwined Histories of Christian and Muslim Schooling in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In: Journal of Religion in Africa 43 (4): 451-479. Read article [pdf]
  • 2012 Targeting the Empowered Individual: Transnational Policy-Making, the Global Economy of Aid and the Limitation of ‘Biopower’ in the Neoliberal Era. In: Dilger, Hansjörg, Abdoulaye Kane und Stacey Langwick (Hg.): Medicine, Mobility, and Power in Global Africa. Transnational Health and Healing. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 60-91. Read chapter [pdf]
  • 2012 (Hansjörg Dilger; Bernhard Hadolt): Medizinethnologie. In: Beer, Bettina and Hans Fischer (eds.): Ethnologie: Einführung und Überblick. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag (7th edition), 309-329. Read chapter [pdf]
  • 2011: Contextualising Ethics: or, the Morality of Knowledge Production in Ethnographic Fieldwork on 'the Unspeakable'. In: Geissler, Wenzel und Sassy Molyneux (Hg.): Evidence, Ethos and Experiment: The Anthropology and History of Medical Research in Africa. Oxford & New York: Berghahn Books, 99-124. Read chapter [pdf]
  • 2011 (Britta Rutert, Hansjörg Dilger, Gilbert M. Matsabisa): Bioprospecting in South Africa: Opportunities and Challenges in the Global Knowledge Economy? – a Field in the Becoming. In: CAS Working Papers No. 1-11, Center for Area Studies der Freien Universität Berlin. Read working paper [pdf]
  • 2010 (N. Sullivan, H. Dilger, D. Garcia): Negotiating Professionalism, Economics and Moral Obligation: An Appeal for Ethnographic Approaches to African Medical Migration. In: African Diaspora 3 (2): 237-254. Read article [pdf]
  • 2010 (H. Dilger, M. Burchardt, R. van Dijk): "Introduction - The redemptive moment: HIV treatments and the production of new religious spaces". In: African Journal of Aids Research 9(4): 373-383. Read article [pdf]
  • 2009 Doing Better? Religion, the Virtue-Ethics of Development and the Fragmentation of Health Politics in Tanzania. Africa Today 56 (1): 89-110. Read article [pdf]
  • 2009 "African Sexualities" Revisited: The Morality of Sexuality and Gender in the Era of Globalization and AIDS. In: Pope, Cynthia, Renée T. White und Robert Malow (eds.): HIV/AIDS: Global Frontiers in Prevention/Intervention. London: Routledge, 124-136.
  • 2008 "We Are All Going to Die": Kinship, Belonging and the Morality of HIV/AIDS-Related Illnesses and Deaths in Rural Tanzania. Anthropological Quarterly  81 (1): 207-232. Read article [pdf]
  • 2007 Healing the Wounds of Modernity: Community, Salvation and Care in a Neo-Pentecostal Church in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Journal of Religion in Africa 37 (1): 59-83. Read article [pdf]
  • 2006 The Power of Aids: Kinship, Mobility and the Valuing of Social and Ritual Relationships in Tanzania. African Journal of Aids Research 5 (2): 109-21. Read article [pdf]
  • 2003 Sexuality, AIDS and the Lures of Modernity: Reflexivity and Morality among Young People in Rural Tanzania. Medical Anthropology 22, 1: 23-52. Read article [pdf].
  • 2001 "Living PositHIVely in Tanzania”. The Global Dynamics of AIDS and the Meaning of Religion for International and Local AIDS Work. afrika spectrum, 36 (1) 2001, Special issue “AIDS in Africa. Broadening the Perspectives”: 73-90 Read article [pdf]

Recent presentations

  • 2011. "Claiming Territory: Medical Mission and Histories of Inequality in a Religiously Diverse City". International Workshop "Medical Diversity and Its Spaces", Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen: March 28-29, 2011.
  • 2010. "Heavenly Action: Religion, Class and the 'Failures' of AIDS Activism in Urban Tanzania". Keynote Lecture at the Summer School “Religion, AIDS, and Social Activism in Africa”, Kampala, Makerere University: July 5-9, 2010
  • 2010. "Ungleiche Geschichte(n): Christliche & muslimische Bildungseinrichtungen in Ostafrika im Kontext geopolitischer Transformationsprozesse". Lecture Series "Räume in Bewegung. Regionale und transregionale Dynamiken in einer multipolaren Welt", Freie Universität Berlin, Center for Area Studies: June 24, 2010.
  • 2010. "Geschlecht, Macht und Bild: Visualisierungen des Körpers in einer globalen Epidemie". Interdisciplinary lecture series "KörperBilder. Konzepte und Repräsentationen von Geschlecht". Freie Universität Berlin, "Offener Hörsaal": June 08, 2010.
  • 2010. "Religion macht Staat: Transsäkulare Verflechtungen und religiös motivierte Entwicklung im urbanen Tansania". Seminar series "Afrikanisches Echo", organized by the "Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig" and the Institute for Anthropology, University of Leipzig: January 06, 2010.
  • 2009. "Beyond Biopower: Transnational Policy-Making and the Global Economy of Aid in Tanzania". Anthropology of Health and Illness Seminars at the School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh: May 27, 2009.
  • 2008. "Targeting the Empowered Individual: Transnational Policy-Making, the Global Economy of Aid, and the Limitations of ‘Biopower’ in Tanzania". Africa Seminar Series, University of Oslo, Department of Social Anthropology: November 18, 2008.
  • 2008. "Religion, the Virtue-Ethics of Development and the Transnationalization of Health Politics in Contemporary Tanzania". Workshop "Regimes of care, relations of care: anthropological perspectives on the changing order of public health in Africa". University of Cambridge, Department of Social Anthropology and African Studies Centre: June 7, 2008.
  • 2008. “Securing Wealth and Managing Social Relations: Kinship, Gender and Rural-Urban Migration in Neoliberal Tanzania”. Carter Lectures “Migrations in and out of Africa: Old Patterns and New Perspectives,” Center for African Studies, University of Florida: February 15-16, 2008.
  • 2007. "Trajectories of Knowledge in the Neoliberal Era". Background paper for the 97. Dahlem Conference "The Globalization of Knowledge and its Consequences" (Organized by Jürgen Renn, Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science, Berlin). Freie Universität Berlin: November 18-23, 2007.
  • 2007. “Modernity, Development and the Rise of the Neo-Pentecostal Movement in Tanzania”. International Gender Studies Centre Workshop “Women and ‘Faith-Based Development’: Mixing Morality and Money”. Oxford University, Department of International Development: September 2007.
  • 2007. “‘Doing Research on the Unspeakable’: Ethical and Methodological Issues in Ethnographic Fieldwork on HIV/AIDS in Africa”. 5th Nordic Conference in Medical Anthropology at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik: June 14-17, 2007.
  • 2007 “Visualizing AIDS: Transnational Flows of Images, Local Moral Worlds, and the Dilemmas of HIV Prevention in Tanzania”. Carter Lectures, Center for African Studies, University of Florida: March 29-31, 2007. (In connection with the Triennial Conference on African Art)

List of MA and BA students (only completed)

Ongoing and completed PhD projects