JProf. Dr. Gerhild Perl

© Kuno Schläfli

✆ +49- 0651/201-2773

Fax: +49-651/201-3933

✉ Universität Trier
    Fachbereich IV - Ethnologie
    Universitätsring 15
    D-54286 Trier

Room C 435

Consultation hour during the semester: 
Wednesdays from 1pm to 3pm. To schedule an appointment, please send an email to

I am an Assistant Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Trier. Before that, I was a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the University of Bern, where I completed my Ph.D. in February 2019. I held visiting fellowships at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge (2017/18) and the Institute “Sociétés en Mutation en Méditerranée” at Aix-Marseille University (2021). I did my MA studies at the Universities of Vienna and Lisbon. My dissertation on death during migration across the Spanish-Moroccan Sea was awarded the Maria Ioannis Baganha Award and the Dissertation Prize of the German Anthropological Association (GAA/ DGSKA).

Transnational networks, transcultural processes, and temporality are overarching themes of my teaching and research. My research is mainly based on critical border, mobility, and migration studies, interdisciplinary affect and emotion studies, moral anthropology, phenomenology as well as postcolonial and feminist theory.

Research Interests

  • Political Anthropology
  • Border Regimes, Migration and Mobility
  • Feminist Anthropology and Intersectionality
  • Affect and Emotion
  • Death, Disappearances and Mourning
  • Existential and phenomenological anthropology
  • Ethnography and Storytelling




[Translate to Englisch:] hope

Hildebrand, S., G. Perl, J. Rehsmann and V. Siegl 2018. Hope. Transl. by A. Cox. Christoph Merian Verlag, Basel. 


[Translate to Englisch:] Afterlife

G. Perl in preparation. The Affective Afterlife. Tracing Death during Migration across the Spanish-Moroccan Sea.



Peer-reviewed Articles

Perl. G. (under review): Under Pressure. Moods and Affects of Everyday Life in a Migrants’ Detention Centre.

Perl, G. 2020. The production of illicit lives: Racial governmentality and colonial legacies across the Strait of Gibraltar. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie | Journal of Social and Cultural Anthropology 145(2): 81–100. (open access)

Perl, G. 2019. Migration as survival. Withheld stories and the limits of ethnographic knowability. Migration and Society: Advances in Research 2: 12–25. (pre-print)

Perl, G. and S. Strasser 2018. Transnational moralities. The politics of ir/responsibility of and against the EU border regime. Identities. Global Studies in Culture and Power 25(5): 507– 523.

Perl, G. 2018. Lethal borders and the alter-politics of “ordinary people”. Anthropological Journal of European Cultures 27(2): 85–104.

Perl, G. 2016. Uncertain belongings: Absent mourning, burial, and post-mortem repatriations at the external border of the EU in Spain. Journal of Intercultural Studies 37(2): 195–209. (pre-print)


Contributions to Books

Perl, G. (forthcoming 2024). "Seitliche Stimmen" oder die Möglichkeit des schwachen Wir. Über Judith Butler. In Burger, Lisa, Tim Burger und David Sumerauer (eds.). Inspirationen: Über die Entstehung ethnologischen Denkens. Wuppertal: Edition Trickster im Peter Hammer Verlag: 17–24.

Huttunen, L. and G. Perl. 2023.  Why an Anthropology of Disappearance? A Tentative Introduction. In Huttunen, Laura and Gerhild Perl (eds.): An Anthropology of Disappearance: Politics, Intimacies and the Alternative Ways of Knowing. Oxford, New York: Berghahn Books: 1–27.

Perl, G. 2018. Wasser/ Water. In: Hildebrand, S., G. Perl, J. Rehsmann and V. Siegl (2018): Hope. Transl. by A. Cox. Christoph Merian Verlag, Basel: 153–175.

Perl, G. 2017, reprint. Uncertain belongings: Absent mourning, burial, and post-mortem repatriations at the external border of the EU in Spain. In: Hunter, Alistair and Eva Soom Ammann (eds.): Final journeys: Migrant end-of-life care and rituals in Europe. Routledge, London: 101–116.

Mitterbauer, Julia and G. Perl 2008. Enemies from the inside. An exploration into queer, feminist, and anti-nationalist activism in Belgrad. In: H.arta and Katharina Morawek (eds.): Are you talking to me? Discussions on knowledge production, gender politics and feminist strategies. Löcker Verlag, Vienna: 171-179.


Blog Entries, Essays und Feuilleton (selection)

Perl, G. 2021.The promise of solidarity. Anthropological Theory Commons.

Perl, G. and S. Strasser 2021. Transnational moralities. Europe’s persistent politics of irresponsibility. Identities. Global Studies in Culture and Power. Blog Articles Series.

Perl, G. and S. Strasser 2019. Empty spaces. In Anthroblog. Institut für Sozialanthropologie, Bern.

Perl, G. (2015): Versuch einer Antwort. Reflexionen über einen Forschungsaufenthalt an der Grenze. In UniPress 164.

Perl, G. (2014, reprint): Der Telefonengel®. Versuch über das Sterben. In Schreibkraft da capo 26, Graz.

Perl, G. (2011): Unbehagliche Körper. Von Leichen, Toten und Kadavern. In Paradigmata Zeitschrift für Menschen und Diskurse 3, Wien, 48-52.

Perl, G. (2011): Der Telefonengel®. Versuch über das Sterben. In Schreibkraft grenzwertig 20, Graz.


Reviews, Interviews and Translations

G. Perl 2020. Invited book review on How lifeworlds work: Emotionality, sociality, and the ambiguity of being by Michael Jackson. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. pp 240. American Ethnologist 47(3): 346–347.

C. Schwaller; G. Perl and Kehr, J. 2020. Valuation Struggles: Rethinking the Economy in Times of Crisis. A Conversation with Susana Narotzky, Patrícia Matos, and Antonio Maria Pusceddu. TSANTSA.Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 25: 175–186.

G. Perl 2020. Translation of the peer-reviewed article: Auf der Suche nach Ethik. Gesetzliche Bestimmungen und empirische Fragestellungen für die Anthropologie (Searching for Ethics. Legal requirements and empirical issues for anthropology) by J. Perrin, N. Bühler, M.-A. Berthod, J. Forney, S. Kradolfer, L. Ossipow 2018. Tsansta. Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 25: 243–267.



D. Alexandra and G.Perl 2021. Interview for the exhibition „Confrontig Hostile Terrains“: Lange Momente der Stille und des Nachdenken. In uniaktuell – The online magazine of the University of Bern

Completed Research Projects

2021. Public Anthropology Projekt: “Confronting Hostile Terrains: Border Regimes and their Global Impact.” Mit Darcy Alexandra. [funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation SNF, der Burgergemeinde Bern, Fund for the promotion of young researchers, Univ. of Bern, Diversity Initiative Grant, Faculty of Humanities, Univ. of Bern]

2021. “Transnational inheritance: Family succession and social reproduction between France and Morocco”[funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation SNF]

2017–2018. “The shipwreck of Rota. Moralities of violent death in the Spanish-Moroccan borderlands.” [funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation SNF]

2014–2017. Ph. D. student in the Projekt: “Intimate Uncertainties. Precarious life and moral economy across European borders” (PI: Sabine Strasser). [funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation SNF]