Institut für Sozialanthropologie



Zainabu Jallo is a postdoctoral researcher in Anthropology. Her current research project on material religion and criminal Anthropology draws from aspects of her previous research on Afro-Brazilian religions and extends to Cuba and Haiti.

Zainabu`s doctoral dissertation, a Doc.CH funded project, “The Sacred and the Spectacular: Diasporic Consciousness through the Material Culture of Brazilian Candomblé”, outlined the historical evolution and visibility of a cultural practice through its objects. While tracing their implications on the cultural politics of Brazil, it also underpinned parallel yet antipodal developments of diasporic consciousness and national cultural identification in Brazil.

Her MA thesis, “Mythopoeisis in the Reinvention of an Ethnic Self: Aesthetic Tensions in Borderlands/La Frontera and A Cannon Between my Knees.” accentuated the complex relationships between myth, culture and ideology in Native American Literature.


Research Interests

Material Culture | Provenance Research | Architectural Anthropology| Diasporic Consciousness


Project Websites

Architectural Anthropology:

Material Religion



HS 2020 “Reading Material Culture” BA/MA  

FS 2022 “Ethics in Provenance Research” MA



Forthcoming publications:

Jallo, Zainabu and Holger Jebens. “Acquisition and Display Ethics.” In Paideuma. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag 2022. (In press)

Jallo, Zainabu (ed.). Material Culture in Transit. Theory and Practice. London: Routledge, 2022. (Forthcoming)

---. The Sacred and the Spectacular. Diasporic Consciousness and the Material Culture of Brazilian Candomblé.

Duke University Press, 2023. (Forthcoming)



This international conference seeks to examine transnational trajectories of material culture and focuses on the various ways in which mobility reshapes immaterial characteristics of artefacts.

The conference discusses the processes of disbanding material heritage from its original context and investigates the implications for the transformation of meanings.  

Intangible features of material culture are diverse and range from historical, cultural, political to legal and fiscal attributes. Transferred artefacts are susceptible to change in many different respects and could eventually transform the narratives and politics of collective memory and identity they were intended to give evidence for. On the other hand, it is often characteristic for transferred artefacts to infuse other cultures with what is foreign to them and also have the propensity to influence perceptions and relationships between cultures.

We are Back as a Virtual Conference

The date of our rescheduled MCiT Conference remains in place, i.e. September 9 & 10, 2020. However, it has become inevitable that the conference will now be a virtual event. This is to allow our international participants to be a part of the event and also to allay the uncertainties still connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The final schedule and updates will be soon added to the conference web page.