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Giorgio Brocco

Giorgio Brocco
Bildquelle: privat

Assoziiertes Mitglied der Arbeitsstelle Medical Anthropology I Global Health

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie, Universität Wien

Research Expertise and Teaching Interest

  • Medical Anthropology
  • Disability Anthropology
  • Anthropological Theory and Methodology
  • Anthropology of Africa (esp. Tanzania)


Regional Focus

Tanzania and Italy (Sicily)


Current Research Project and Doctoral Dissertation

Trajectories of Albinism. Subjectivities, Experiences, and Narratives in Tanzania.


Academic Qualifications

  • 2014-2021 Ph.D. Student, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISKA), Freie Universität Berlin.

  • 2013 Visiting Studentship (10 months). Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISKA), Freie Universität Berlin.

  • 2011 Master degree in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Department of Philosophy and Literature, University of Palermo. MA Dissertation: “The regeneration of the Nannu. Strategies of revival and innovation in the Carnival practices of a Sicilian Town”. Grade: 110/110 cum laude.

  • 2008 Bachelor degree in Philosophy and Literature, University of Palermo. BA Dissertation: “The archbishopric of Monreale and the trials against three “witches” in Modern and Contemporary Sicily”. Grade: 110/110 cum laude.


Professional Qualifications

  • 2012-2017 Scientific coordinator of the project “No More Discrimination Against People with Albinism” (Tanzania). Tulime Onlus (NGO), Italy.

  • 2012-2014 European Voluntary Service Project Coordinator in Tanzania (Pomerini, Iringa Region). Tulime Onlus (NGO), Italy.

  • 2013/2012 October-November Teacher of Swahili Language. Level: Beginners. Number of Students: 14. Tulime Onlus (NGO), Italy.


Awards and Scholarships

  • 2014-2018 German Education Exchange Service (DAAD), Scholarship for doctoral research project, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin.

  • 2017 Travel Grant for the Conference “Transfigurationen: Medizin macht Gesellschaft macht Medizin”, February 17-18, 2017, Universität Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

  • 2016 Wenner-Gren Travel Grant for the Conference ASA16, “Footprints and futures: the time of anthropology”, July 4-7, 2017, Durham University, Durham, UK.

  • 2015 Swiss Ethnological Society (SEG) Travel Grant for the Annual Meeting of the Swiss Ethnological Society (SEG), November 12-14, 2017, Institute of Social Anthropology, University Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

  • 2013 Post-Master Degree Research Grant for Specialization Course Abroad, University of Palermo, Italy.

  • Ignazio Buttitta Foundation Scholarship, Award-Grant for MA Dissertation and Research.



  • Member German Anthropological Association.

  • Member, Working Group Medical Anthropology, subsection of the German Anthropological Association.

  • Member, Working Group Medical Anthropology I Global Health, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISKA), Freie Universität (FU), Berlin.

  • Member, Working Group Political and Legal Anthropology, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISKA), Freie Universität (FU) Berlin.

Teaching Experience

2017 Contract Lecturer. Anthropology of Disability Worlds, BA Seminar (Course number: 29682), Summer Semester, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin.

Course Description:

The present seminar intends to shed lights on the cultural and social understandings of diverse forms of disability in different urban and rural settings around the world. Therefore, the course aims at critically analyze the “western” and human rights notion of “disability” in order to underline the socio-cultural complexities around conditions of physical, sensory, and mental impairments. One of the goals is also to discuss related notions of normalcy, able-bodiedness, ableism, stigma as well as social in/exclusion and the multiple ways such inner social attitudes influence life experiences and subjectivity of people with mental and/or physical impairments.

Research Project

Trajectories of Albinism. Subjectivities, Experiences, and Narratives in Tanzania.


Albinism is a condition present within all ethnic groups that attracted lots of attention in Tanzania, since around 2008, when media debates and worldwide newspapers have brought to world prominence the outbreak of alleged “albino killings” in the country’s northwest mining frontier. Even though there was such an outcry regarding this phenomenon in Tanzania, little attention has been paid to life experiences and subjectivity of people with albinism, local explanations about the condition and the ways awareness of what albinism is, within the local population, has been modified by international and national media debates and humanitarian interventions.

The present ethnographic research intends to analyze life situations, everyday experiences, and subjectivity of people with albinism in Tanzania. The primary goal of the study will be pursued through an investigation which will deal with the social, political and moral discourses and ideas about albinism, as they are articulated by diverse actors between local and global settings. The main objectives of the present research will be: (1) to discover the social position of people with albinism within their families and communities; (2) to understand which moral terms members of the communities use in order to conceptualize and explain the social status of people with albinism; (3) to examine what it means to be living as an individual with albinism as an everyday experience and the ways through which people with albinism construct their ‘self’ and subjectivity as a reaction to their social and political condition; (4) to understand in which way local discourses and practices concerning the inheritance of albinism have been becoming interconnected to (bio-)medical explanations for the congenital condition and, furthermore, which gender discourses are active within these explanations; (5) to examine in which ways the Tanzanian government and international humanitarian organizations and NGOs on behalf of people with albinism try to influence local perception and practices related to albinism e.g. through media and policies debates.

Funding: Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Grant for Doctoral Students and Young Researchers (2014-2018)

First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Dilger; Second Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Olaf Zenker


Research Skills and Experiences

  • 2015 Ethnographic Fieldwork on people with albinism in contemporary Tanzania, Kilolo district (Iringa Region), Iringa Region, Moshi (Kilimanjaro Region), Dar es Salaam.

  • 2013-14 Preliminary Fieldwork Research, Kilolo district and Iringa Region.

  • 2012 First Research and Voluntary Stay in Tanzania Kilolo district and Ilula ward, Tanzania.

  • 2007-2010 Fieldwork Research in Sicily for BA and MA Dissertations.

Journal Articles

2020a “Entangled narratives: Encountering political subjectivities of people with albinism in Tanzania.” In: AM Rivista della Società Italiana di Antropologia Medica/ Journal of the Italian Society for Medical Anthropology, 50: 145 - 169.

2020b “Notes of despair and consciousness: Performativity and visibility of albinism in musical practices.” In: Disability and Society, 35 (1): 67-88.

2017  “Living a ʻnormalʼ life. Perceptions and practices of albinism in the wake of humanitarianism.” In Tarantino, C., Straniero, A. M. (eds.) Special Issue, “Vizio di Forma/Inherent Vice”, In: Minority Reports: Cultural Disability Studies, 5: 91-112.

2016  “Albinism, stigma, subjectivity and global-local discourses in Tanzania.” In: Anthropology and Medicine, 23 (3): 229-243.

2015  “Labelling albinism: Language and discourse surrounding people with albinism in Tanzania.” In: Disability and Society, 30 (8): 1143-1157.

Book Chapters

N.D.  “A Complex condition: Social experiences, health concerns, and political issues of people with albinism in Africa.” In: Jones, E. (ed.) Palgrave Handbook of Global Critical Health Humanities, Race and Ethnicity. London: Palgrave. (Under Revision).

2021a “Sparks of otherness: Producing representations of people with albinism in Africa through three documentary films from the global North.” In Baker, C., Imafidon, E. (eds.) Cultural Representations of Albinism in Africa: Narratives of Change. Berlin: Peter Lang. (Forthcoming).

2021b “Assemblages of care around albinism: Kin-based networks and (in)dependence in contemporary Tanzania.” In: Calestani, M., Montesi, L. (eds.) Managing Chronicity in Unequal States: Ethnographic Perspectives on Caring. London: UCL Press. (Forthcoming).

2019  (with B. Rutert) “Role conflicts and aftermaths: Introduction.” In: Stodulka, T., Dinkelaker, S., Thajib, F. (eds.) Affective Dimensions of Fieldwork and Ethnography, Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 23-28.


Online Publications

2019  “(Un)categorizing Albinism.” In: M. Friedner, Zoanni T. (eds.) Disability from the South: Toward a Lexicon, Somatosphere. (7 pages)

2018  (with A. C. Mbaye) “Chi sono i migranti economici? La grande ‘pacchia’ delle aziende italiane in Africa. [Who are the economic migrants? The great ‘gravy train’ of Italian companies in Africa.]” In: Lavoro Culturale, July 11. (8 pages)

2016  “Singing albinism in global Tanzania: ʻDemandingʼ inclusion through music.” In: Medizinethnologie Körper, Gesundheit und Heilung in einer globalisierten Welt. (18 pages)

2015  “People with albinism and humanitarian NGOs: Identities between local and global worlds.” In: Medizinethnologie Körper, Gesundheit und Heilung in einer globalisierten Welt. (20 pages)


Other Publications

2020  “Politiche della disabilità. Poliomielite, appartenenza di gruppo, e attivismo in Sierra Leone [Disability politics. Poliomyelitis, group belonging, and activism in Sierra Leone].” Book Review of Diana Szántó. Politicising Polio: Disability, Civil Society and Civic Agency in Sierra Leone. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020, 313. In: AM Rivista della Società italiana di antropologia medica/ Journal of the Italian Society for Medical Anthropology, 50: 523 - 531.

2017 Albinism in Africa: A Handbook. NGO report. Palermo: Tulime Onlus.

2017  “Africa Orientale. Il nuovo mercato della droga: Partite stupefacenti [East Africa. The new drug market: Surprising batches].” In: Nigrizia, (April), 135 (4): 35-37.

2017  “La deriva autoritaria del Bulldozer [The authoritarian drift of the Bulldozer].” In: Nigrizia, (March), 135 (3): 20-21.

2016  “A tutto gas. Nuovi giacimenti nel Bacino di Ruvu, Tanzania [At full throttle. New gas fields in the Ruvu Basin, Tanzania].” In: Nigrizia, (June), 134 (6): 20-21.

2016  “Note Generazionali. Il diversificato panorama musicale in Tanzania [Generational notes. The diversifying music scene in Tanzania].” Nigrizia, (July-August), 134 (7-8): 76-77.

2015  “Messe nere vittime bianche. Albinismo tra discriminazione e inclusione [Black messes white victims. Albinism between discrimination and inclusion].” In: Nigrizia, (July-August), 133 (7-8): 14-15.


SFB 1171 Affective Societies
Berlin Southern Theory Lecture