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Dr. Sarah Hanisch

Short Biography

Employment history

10/2017-05/2020: post-doctoral research associate and lecturer, Chair for Anthropology of Globalization, University of Cologne, Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology

2014-2017: doctoral research associate and lecturer, University of Vienna, Institute for East Asian Studies-Chinese Studies.

2014-2015: lecturer, University of Vienna, Institute for East Asian Studies-Chinese Studies. 

2013-2014: doctoral research associate and lecturer (temporary). University of Vienna, Institute for East Asian Studies-Chinese Studies.


2013- 2018: PhD studies, University of Vienna. PhD thesis: “Searching for sweetness: Chinese women in Lesotho and Fuqing” (successfully defended 3.10.2018).

2010- 2012: Master (M.A.), Global Studies – A European perspective.  Mobility track: University of Wroclaw, Stellenbosch University, University of Vienna. MA thesis: "South-South migration: the case of Chinese migrants in Lesotho". 

Research experience

2018: three weeks field research in Fuqing, China.

2017: One-month research in Taipei, Taiwan.  Project: "Lived experiences of African students and professionals in Taiwan". Financed by Global African Diaspora Platform (GADS). 

2015: One-month field research für PhD thesis in Fuqing, China. Financed by the Dean of Studies of the University of Vienna. 

2014: Eight-month field research in Maseru, Lesotho. Financed by the German Academic Exchange Network (DAAD). 

2013: three-weeks research in Tanzania. Project: “Chinese-Tanzanian relation from the perspective of labor organization. Financed by “Working globally” a working group of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB).

2012: One-month field research für master thesis in Lesotho und South Africa. 

Thematic Interests and Regional Focus

migration, gender, anthropology of China and globalization, social transformation, China and southern Africa

Scholarships and Awards

05/2016: Awarded “Financial assistance for young scientists for participation in conferences abroad” by the Austrian Research Association (ÖFG).

02/2015: Awarded “Financial assistance for young scientists for participation in conferences abroad” by the University of Vienna.

07/2013: Awarded “Financial assistance for young scientists for participation in conferences abroad” by the University of Vienna.

02/2014-10/2014: Awarded an eight-month full scholarship for PhD students by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for field research in Lesotho.

10/2010-09/2012: Awarded a full Erasmus Mundus scholarship by the European Commission.

09/2008-08/2009: Awarded a full scholarship for a “Combined theoretical and practical semester in China” by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).


11/2012: Awarded prize for “Best master thesis in Global Studies 2012” by the Global Studies Consortium.

Courses and Seminars

Summer term 2019: Roads, dams and traders: China’s engagement in Africa.

Summer term 2019: Between change and continuity: reading seminar on the anthropology of China.

Winter term 18/19: Introduction to research methods

Summer term 2018: Introduction to transnational migration

Summer term 2018: Social change in China: reading seminar on the works of Yan Yunxiang

Winter term 2017/2018: China-Africa encounters and other modernities

Winter term 2017/2018: Anthropology of China and migration

Summer term 2017: Introduction to research methods

Winter term 16/17: Student Research Projects: A comparison of Chinese and African students.

Summer term 2016: Return and floating migrants – History of Overseas Chinese in Fujian Province

Winter term 2015/2016: Chinese migration to Africa

Winter term 2014/2015: Going out – the engagement of Chinese state and non-state actors in selected African countries


Hanisch, S. (forthcoming) "Chinese migration to Lesotho as a springboard towards a better future?" Africa Today, Winter 2019, Special Issue on Migration and Class.

Hanisch, S. 2019. "Jenseits der großen Geopolitik—Einblicke in die chinesische Migration nach Lesotho." Jahresbericht der Austrian Chinese Business Association. S.90-94. Available at: https://www.acba.at/de/downloads/

Hanisch, S. 2019. "Film Commentary: Un Cuento Chino (Chinese Take-Away)". Available at:

Hanisch, S., 2017. "Textile production in East Africa: cooperation through the experiences of Tanzanian managers". In: Röschenthaler, U. und A. Jedlowski (Hrsg.), Mobility between Africa, Asia and Latin America: Economic Networks and Cultural Interactions, London: Zed Books. 

Hanisch, S., 2016. "Saubere Freundschaft". Südwind Magazin, (12), 16-17.

Hanisch, S., 2015. "Leben in Unsicherheit". Afrika Süd, (4), S. 24-25. 

Hanisch, S., 2015. Crais Clifton and Thomas V. McClendon, (Hrsg.): "The South Africa reader – history, culture, politics" (Book review). African Studies Quarterly, 15 (1), S. 165-167. 

Hanisch, S., 2013. "At the margins of the economy? Chinese migrants in Lesotho’s wholesale and retail sector". Africa Spectrum, 48 (3), S. 85-97.