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Prof. Dr. Uli Beisel


Department of Geography

Chair of Human Geography

Geographies of Global Inequalities


Malteserstr. 74-100
Room K 184
12249 Berlin

Office hours


Summer Term 2024

  • C - Institutskolloquium der Geographischen Wissenschaften
  • VS - Vorlesung zu Project Work I: Thematic and Methodical Preparation
  • LK- Project Work I: Thematic and Methodical Preparation
  • LFP - Project Work II: Empirical Research and Data Analysis
  • C - Forschungskolloquium Anthropogeographie (Entwicklungsforschung)
  • Ext.P - Geograph. Arbeiten in der Berufspraxis - Berufspraktikum (Entwicklungsforschung)

Winter Term 2023/24

  • C - Institutskolloquium der Geographischen Wissenschaften
  • GK - Mensch-Umwelt-Beziehungen
  • C - Forschungskolloquium Anthropogeographie
  • S - Projekt II
  • Ext.P - Geograph. Arbeiten in der Berufspraxis - Berufspraktikum
  • V - Geographies of Global Inequalities
  • C - Projektmanagement

Summer Term 2023

  • V - Geographien der Differenzen
  • S- Projekt I
  • LFP - Projekt I
  • V - Regionale Studien: Regionale Geographie Südasiens
  • S - Regionale Studien: Regionale Geographie Südasiens
  • Ext.P - Geograph. Arbeiten in der Berufspraxis - Berufspraktikum
  • Forschungskolloquium Anthropogeographie

Winter Term 2022/23

  • V - Grundlagen der Geographischen Entwicklungsforschung
  • S - Grundlagen der Geographischen Entwicklungsforschung
  • GK - Mensch-Umwelt-Beziehungen
  • S - Mensch-Umwelt-Beziehungen (Geogr. Entwicklungsforschung)
  • S - Strategien und Instrumente der Entwicklungspolitik I: Ökologische Dimensionen
  • C - Forschungskolloquium Anthropogeographie (Entwicklungsforschung)

Summer Term 2022

  • S - Regionale Themen der Anthropogeographie: AG Globalisierung: Geographien der Gesundheit
  • V - Regionale Studien: Regionale Geographie Südasiens
  • C - Forschungskolloquium Anthropogeographie (Entwicklungsforschung)
  • PjS - Projektbezogenes Arbeiten (AB Entwicklungsforschung) :Schwammstädte und natur-basierte Stadtentwicklung
  • LFP - Projektbezogenes Arbeiten (AB Entwicklungsforschung)

Winter Term 2021/22

  • GK - Mensch-Umwelt-Beziehungen
  • V - Grundlagen der Geographischen Entwicklungsforschung
  • S - Grundlagen der Geographischen Entwicklungsforschung
  • S - Mensch-Umwelt-Beziehungen (Geogr. Entwicklungsforschung)
  • C Forschungskolloquium Anthropogeographie (Entwicklungsforschung)

Summer Term 2021

  • S - Projekt I: Geographien von elektronischem Müll
  • LFP - Projekt I (AB Entwicklungsforschung): Geographien von elektronischem Müll
  • V - Regionale Studien: Regionale Geographie Südasiens
  • S - Regionale Studien: Regionale Geographie Südasiens
  • C - Forschungskolloquium Anthropogeographie (Entwicklungsforschung)

1) Uneven geographies of vaccine manufacturing in the Global South: assessing the relations between research & development and global equity

Förderung: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), COVID-19 Focus Funding: Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic in the Global South: Health Systems and Society

Laufzeit: 2021-2022

Projektteam:Prof. Dr. Andrew Barry, Department of Human Geography, University College London, United Kingdom; Prof. Dr. Uli Beisel, Department of Human Geography, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany; Dr. John Kuumuori Ganle, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Ghana; Germany; Dr. Nele Jensen, Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, Kings College London, United Kingdom; Dr. Ann H. Kelly, Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, Kings College London, United Kingdom; Dr. Gustavo Matta, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Brazil; Prof. Dr. Richard Rottenburg, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Vinayak Bhardwaj, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; Madlen Hornung, Department of Human Geography, Freie Universität Berlin; Ester Rede, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Brazil

The pace of COVID-19 vaccine development has been nothing short of remarkable. In under a year from when genomic sequence of the novel coronavirus was made publicly available, millions of people around the world had received one of many viable candidates. Despite this tremendous achievement the global impact and public health value of these critical tools remains to be demonstrated. Vaccine equity, already a long-standing focus of global health concern, has, in the current crisis, become a lightning rod for geopolitical debate. This project interrogates how fair access can be built into the design of vaccines and critically, their manufacturing processes. It is critical to understand how technology transfer is being achieved in countries of the Global South that have limited vaccine production capacities so far. This project aims to provide in-depth analysis of the tech-transfer and collaborative production processes in South Africa, Ghana and Brazil. Through the collaboration between social science scholars in the Americas, the African continent, United Kingdom and Germany, we hope to pilot a more substantive international research collaboration that accompanies the accelerated efforts to build up and strengthen vaccine-manufacturing efforts in the Global South. Studying vaccine R&D and manufacturing from a social science perspective will elaborate comparative insights for how social and global (in)justice is currently being enacted in these processes and could be in the future.

2) Mobile Mosquitoes - Understanding the Entangled Mobilities of Aedes Mosquitoes and Humans in India, Mexico, Tanzania and Germany

Förderung: Volkswagen Stiftung Globale Herausforderungen, Mobility - Global Medicine and Health Research

Laufzeit: 2020 – 2021; 2022 - 2026

Projektteam: Prof. Dr. Uli Beisel, PD Dr. Carsten Wergin (Universität Heidelberg), Prof. Dr. Gerardo Suzán (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico), Dr. Fredros Okumu (Ifakara Health Research and Development
Centre, Tanzania), Dr. Ashwani Kumar (Indian Council of Medical Research, Vector Control Research Centre), Dr. Norbert Becker (Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Stechmückenbekämpfung e.V., Germany)

This project establishes an interdisciplinary research consortium to study the entangled mobilities of humans and Aedes mosquitoes in India, Mexico, Tanzania and Germany. The project examines mosquito dispersal in relation to human movement both in terms of long-distance (tire trade, boat and plane transportation) and short-distance (from local buses to watering cans) mobility. It systematically analyses how the mobility of people and things (migrants, tourists, objects of travel and trade) is interlinked with the mobility of Aedes and the spread of associated arboviral diseases. We study (i) which mosquitoes move where and how, including their larvae, and long-term egg survival, (ii) if and how mosquitoes hitch rides on human infrastructure, and (iii) the socio-economic mobility patterns of humans and how these might contribute to mosquito dispersal. This "multispecies approach" will generate mobility maps of humans and mosquito species that can be overlayed and analysed for their entanglements. The invasive mosquito species Aedes, vector for a variety of arboviral diseases, is a paradigmatic case of how human and nonhuman mobility converge in contemporary societies. Understanding their entangled movement is of utmost importance for developing successful vector control strategies.

3) Re-Scaling Global Health. Human Health and Multispecies Cohabitation on an Urban Planet

Förderung: Berlin University Alliance

Laufzeit: 2022 – 2025

Projektteam: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Beisel, Freie Universität Berlin; Prof. Dr. Dorothee Brantz, Technische Universität Berlin; Prof. Dr. Ignacio Farías, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Prof. Dr. Sandra Jasper, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; PD Dr. Sandra Junglen, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin; Prof. Dr. Jörg Niewöhner, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Prof. Dr. Jörg Stollmann, Technische Universität Berlin; Dr. Tanja Straka, Technische Universität Berlin; Charrlotte Adelina, Freie Universität Berlin

The history of urbanization in conjunction with globalization, particularly since the industrial revolution, has repeatedly given rise to widespread contagious diseases. While pandemics have existed throughout history, their rate of occurrence has been increasing dramatically since the 1960s. Increasing urbanization and its effects on land use change, global mobility patterns, and environmental pollution are key interdependent drivers of this process. The effects of such urbanization patterns on biodiversity loss make (animal) populations more susceptible to the spread of viruses. We see a clear connection between urbanization, biodiversity, and global health that our project seeks to investigate in detail. If we want to work towards improving both human and ecosystem health, we need to pay close attention to the complexities of urban habitats and processes of urban environmental change, untangling the main drivers of urbanization and the interplay between biodiversity and human health.

Our project brings together a transdisciplinary team of urban scholars from the social sciences, the humanities, urban design and planning fields with ecologists and virologists to work towards conceptualizing and empirically examining the complex relationship between human health and the urban environment. Conceptually, the aim is to advance a theory and practice of multispecies urbanism that understands the environment not as a passive backdrop but as an active agent co-producing urban space and affecting human and more-than-human health. Working together with our transdisciplinary project partners, we take on the imagination challenge of reconceptualising urban health through a multispecies lens; and, we take on the implementation challenge of developing strategies and solutions for a practice of multispecies cohabitation with the ultimate goal of building healthier and more equitable urban futures. The project will be developed through four to five urban case studies that build on our existing expertise and networks (Berlin, São Paulo, Melbourne, and Nairobi in collaboration with long-term local collaborators funded through other projects) as well as establishing new collaborations (tbc.: New Delhi, Singapore) thereby enabling comparative research themes to emerge along with the development of grounded theory. The project will be operationalized through explorative sub-projects developed with cross-cutting themes and in transdisciplinary teams as a starting point for a wider research agenda to be advanced over the three years.

4) Planned obsolescence, circular economies and ecologies of electronic devices in transdisciplinary perspective

Förderung: Exzellenzcluster Afrika Multipel, Universität Bayreuth, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Laufzeit: 2020 - 2024

Projektteam: Prof. Dr. Uli Beisel, Dr. Grace Akese (University of Bayreuth/Freie Universität Berlin), Dr. John Kuumuori Ganle (University of Ghana)

Planned obsolescence denotes design practices that are assumed to build an artificially limited life into a technical device. This discourse links electronic waste to the logics of capitalism and renders the design of devices into a process imbued with politics. It also transforms the electronic product into waste, or rather into a material object that has outlived its intended usage patterns. However, the fact that an electronic device has reached its intentioned shelf-life does not mean its life is over. To the contrary, this is a moment, where the device enters into different processes of transfer and transformation. In this project that combines anthropology and engineering studies we are interested in the intentioned and improvised registers of mobility of electronic devices – their physical circulations, their composition through design, repair and maintenance, as well as the attendant material-semiotic transformations of the devices themselves. The project studies these mobilities between Germany and Ghana and their effects along the lives of two electronic devices: mobile phones and fridges. In this we are interested in how mobile electronic devices are transforming and being transformed while they travel from cradle to grave/cradle?

5) Trust in medicine after the EVD epidemic

Förderung: DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Laufzeit: 2016 - 2022

Projektteam: Prof. Dr. Uli Beisel, Dr. Sung-Joon Park (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg), Dr. Sylvanus Spencer (Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone), Dr. Esther Mukowa und Prof. Dr. Paul Richards (Njala University, Sierra Leone), Dr. John Ganle (University of Ghana), Dr. Grace Akello (Gulu University, Uganda)

The scale of the EVD epidemic in the West African countries has been unprecedented. Lack of trust in medicine has been identified as one of the major factors in the scientific literature, in media reports, and global health discourses, which accelerated the spread of EVD and posed a central challenge to the Ebola response. Our project investigates the social, medical, and historical conditions of the formation of trust in medicine in African contexts. Taking the EVD outbreak in Sierra Leone as our empirical starting point, we conduct a comprehensive case study of trust in medicine in Sierra Leone, a site of prolonged EVD epidemic and radical insecurity. This will be complemented by studies in Uganda and Ghana, evaluating previous experiences of short-term EVD outbreaks (Uganda) and recent preparedness interventions in a neighboring country (Ghana). In these three country case studies we analyze how and to what extent trust is built in health service delivery. We ask how trust relations have been shaped by the EVD outbreak, how trust is being (re)built in health service delivery after the EVD epidemic, and to what extent trust forms the social basis for epidemic preparedness. Comparing individual and collective experiences of the institutionalization of care in Sierra Leone with Uganda and Ghana enables us to produce a systematic and in-depth analysis of trust in contexts of radical insecurity and poverty. Such an analysis grounded in the lived everyday realities in African countries is urgently needed in order to devise culturally appropriate and locally accepted epidemic preparedness measures.




Publications: Ulrike Beisel

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

  • Donko, K., Doevenspeck, M. and Beisel, U. (2021) ‘Migration Control, the Local Economy and Violence in the Burkina Faso and Niger Borderland’, Journal of Borderlands Studies, 0(0), pp. 1–17. doi:10.1080/08865655.2021.1997629.
  • Richards, P.; Mokuwa, E.; Maat, H.; Welmers, P.; Beisel, U. (2019). “Trust, and distrust, of Ebola Treatment Centers : A case-study from Sierra Leone”. PLoS One, Vol. 14, Issue 12, e0224511.
  • Akello, G.; Beisel, U. (2019). “Challenges, Distrust, and Understanding : Employing Communicative Action in Improving Trust in a Public Medical Sector in Uganda”. SAGE Open. Vol. 9, Issue 4: 1-10
  • Beisel, U. und Ganle, J.K. (2019). “Releases of transgenic mosquitoes in Burkina Faso: the bioeconomy of science, public engagement and trust in medicine” African Studies Review. Bd. 62, Heft 3: 164-173
  • Beisel, U., Calkins, S., Rottenburg, R. (2018). “Divining, testing, and the problem of accountability”. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, Vol 8, No 1-2: 109 – 113
  • Chandler, C. I. und Beisel, U. (2017). "The Anthropology of Malaria: Locating the Social". Medical Anthropology, Vol. 36, No.5: 411-21
  • Beisel, U., Umlauf, R., Hutchinson, E., Chandler, C. (2016). The complexities of simple technologies: re-imagining the role of rapid diagnostic tests in malaria control efforts. Malaria Journal, 15:64
  • Beisel, U. (2015). Markets and Mutations: mosquito nets and the politics of disentanglement in global health. Geoforum, 66:146–155
  • Boëte, C., Beisel, U., Reis Castro, L., Césard, N. and Reeves, G. (2015). Engaging scientists: An online survey exploring the experience of innovative biotechnological approaches to controlling vector-borne diseases. Parasites & Vectors, 8:414
  • Ginn F., Beisel U., Barua M. (2014): Flourishing with awkward creatures: Vulnerability, togetherness, killing. Environmental Humanities, 4: 113-123
  • Beisel, U., Kelly, A. und Tousignant, N. (2013). Insect Knowledges – Insects as Vectors, Hosts and Companions of Science. Science as Culture, 22 (1):1-15
  • Beisel, U. und Boëte, C. (2013). The Flying Public Health Tool: genetically-modified mosquitoes and malaria control. Science as Culture, 22 (1): 38-60
  • Beisel, U. und Schneider, T. (2012). From 7/83-2 to Dr. JESUS: The transformation of a German ambulance car to a Ghanaian bus. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 30 (4): 639-654      
  • Kelly, A.H. und Beisel U. (2011). Neglected Malarias: The Frontlines and Back Alleys of Global Health. BioSocieties, 6: 71-87
  • Beisel, U. (2006). Beteiligung schafft Akzeptanz: Die Entstehungsgeschichte eines Bürgerwindparks. IPUblic 10(1):8-15

Book contributions

  • Beisel, U. and Wergin, C. (2022) ‘Understanding multispecies mobilities: From mosquito eradication to coexistence’, in: Hall, M. and Tamïr, D. Mosquitopia: The Place of Pests in a Healthy World. London: Routledge, pp. 32-46
  • Beisel, U. (2019). "What might we learn from ANT for studying health care issues in the majority world, and what might ANT learn in turn?" In: Anders Blok, Ignacio Farías & Celia Roberts (eds.). A Routledge Companion to ANT. London: Routledge, pp. 246-255
  • International Panel on Social Progress (2018). Global Health and the Changing Contours of Human Life, In: "Rethinking Society for the 21th Century: Report of the International Panel on Social Progress, Volume 3: Transformations in Values, Norms, Cultures". Cambridge University Press, pp.  713 - 752
  • Beisel, U. (2018). “Märkte und Mutationen: Mückennetze, Malaria und Weltgesundheitspolitik“, In: Friederike Gesing, Michi Knecht und Michael Flitner (eds). NaturenKulturen: Verbindungen und Versammlungen. Bielefeld: transcript, S. 447 - 478 (Übersetzung von Beisel, U. (2015). "Markets and Mutations: mosquito nets and the politics of disentanglement in global health". Geoforum, 66, pp. 146–155)
  • Liggins, A.S. und Beisel, U. (2017). Translating the Glucometer – from “Western” Markets to Uganda: of glucometer graveyards, missing testing strips and the difficulties of patient care. In: Berger, T. und Esguerra, A. “World Politics in Translation: Power, Relationality, and Difference in Global Cooperation”, London: Routledge, S.59 - 75
  • Beisel, U (2017). Resistant Bodies: malaria and the question of immunity/resistance. In: Herrick, C. and Reubi. D. (eds). Global Health Geographies. London: Routledge, pp. 114-134
  • Beisel, U. (2015). The Blue Warriors: Ecology, Participation and Public Health in Malaria Control Experiments in Ghana. In: Geissler, P.W. (ed). Para-States and Medical Science: Making African Global Health. Duke University Press, 281-302
  • Boëte, C. und Beisel, U. (2013) Transgenic Mosquitoes for Malaria Control: From the Bench to the Public Opinion Survey. In: Manguin, S. (Ed.) Anopheles mosquitoes - New insights into malaria vectors. InTech Open Science Open Minds
  • Beisel, U. und Jaeger, M. (2007). Powerless Networks? The Implementation of Decentralised Technologies in Madagascar. In: Bora, A., Bröchler, S., Decker, M. Technology Assessment in der Weltgesellschaft. Berlin: Edition Sigma. 401-410


  • Beisel, U. and Chandler, C. (2017). Reimagining Malaria – Rearticulating the Social in Malaria. Special Section in: Medical Anthropology, Vol.3
  • Ginn F., Beisel U., Barua M. (2014): Flourishing with awkward creatures: Vulnerability, togetherness, killing. Special Section in: Environmental Humanities, Vol. 4
  • Beisel, U., Kelly, A. und Tousignant, N. (2013). Insect Knowledges – Insects as Vectors, Hosts and Companions of Science.Special Issue in: Science as Culture, Vol. 22 (1)


  • Beisel, U. (2012). Mobilities and Health by Anthony C. Gatrell. Emotions, Space and Society 5(4): 279–280
  • Beisel, U. (2011). Insectopedia by Hugh Raffles. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 17(2): 433-434
  • Beisel, U. (2010). Jumping hurdles with mosquitoes? Collaborative book review: When Species Meet, by D.J. Haraway. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 28(1): 46-49