My main research focuses on the anthropology of music and tourism in broad sociocultural and historical perspective. I have a particular interest in an active anthropology that brings together everyday practice and fieldwork methods.
I completed my PhD in Social Anthropology in 2007 at University Bremen. Subsequently, I became co-founder of the interdisciplinary research group 'Tourism and the Oriental Other' at the Social Anthropology Department of Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg where I work and teach.
Between 2003 and 2010, my main field sites were located on the islands of the Mascarene Archipelago (La Réunion, Mauritius, Rodrigues) in the southwest Indian Ocean. The monograph “Kréol Blouz: Musical Enactments of Identity and Culture” (Böhlau 2010) is a result of 15 months ethnographic fieldwork about Creolization, music as cultural heritage expression, and World Music marketing on the French Overseas-Department La Réunion. The title of my second larger ethnographic project in the region is “Touring Cultures: Changing Representation Self and Other in the Tourism Context of Rodrigues Island.” I completed eight months of fieldwork on Rodrigues in fall 2009 to address the implementation of rules and structures for tourism development on this small island dependency of the Republic of Mauritius. In this project, I take a grassroots perspective on ongoing debates about the professed value of tourism development and heritage preservation for hosts and guests. Central to this is the question of how a local population influences and is influenced by decision-making processes on changing representations of local environments, traditions and histories, that are made suitable for tourist audiences.
Since October 2011 I am Marie Curie Fellow at the Social Policy Research Centre of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, where I pursue research on tourism development, Aboriginal culture and heritage in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.