The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Anselma Gallinat

Senior Lecturer


I joined Newcastle University in 2005 as a lecturer in the subject area of Sociology. I obtained a PhD in social anthropology from Durham University, where I subsequently held an ESRC-funded postdoctoral fellowship. My research and teaching are based in social anthropology with a focus on the anthropology of post-socialism, memory and history-writing, morality and ethics in relation to memory after fundamental regime-change, narrative and discourse, notions of the self and identity.  

My work which focuses on eastern Germany is interdisciplinary and I have contributed to many interdisciplinary events where I work with colleagues in history, oral history, German studies and politics. At Newcastle I convene the research cluster 'Imagining Pasts & Futures'.

My teaching includes modules on memory and identity in eastern Europe (third year, UG), ethnography in anthropology (PGT), research methods and anthropology (first year UG). I contribute to the faculty's PhD training programme and supervise dissertations at UG and MA level. I currently supervise one PhD student.


Significant administrative roles:

Admissions Tutor, from Sept 2014 
Cluster convenor for Imagining Pasts & Futures

Module Leader of the Sociology UG Dissertation 2006-09
Degree Programme Director for Sociology 2010-2013
TA Mentor 2011-2013
Staff coordinator of the peer-mentoring scheme: 2012-13



Research Interests

Post-socialist transformations and fundamental regime-change; eastern Germany; history-writing, memory (personal, social) and morality; government and institutions; the self; identity, belonging and citizenship; narrative and rhetoric; ethnography

Other Expertise

I have previously worked in the applied and policy sector as research assistant for the Centre for Cultural Policy Research at the University of Glasgow and the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University. I worked as an intern at a regional daily newspaper in Germany during my undergraduate studies and returned to a Daily Paper for ethnographic research in 2007-08. Apart from Anthropology my UG studies included Media Studies and History.

Current Work

My current work concerns the production of the East German past with regard to government, democracy, citizenship  and political subjectivity in this context. I explore these questions from an anthropological point of view and through ethnographic research. I recently completed a monograph on 'Writing the Socialist Past in the Democratic Present' which is under contract with Berghahn Books (New York). The book is based in a two year research project (2007-09) which was funded by the ESRC and which explored the production of versions of the East German past in the realm of policy-making and remembrance (Aufarbeitung) on the one hand and in journalism on the other.

I have worked in eastern Germany during three research projects exploring questions of cultural change, identity, life-stories after rapid change, and narratives of suffering and trauma with regard to former political prisoners of the East German state. My methodological interests concern ethnography, anthropology at home, narrative and rhetoric.

Future Research

The question of the writing of history and nation-building in the postsocialist realm is of continuing importance, and a very fast growing field. I am interested in the government of the writing of the past with regard to visions of the future, in the role of interest groups and academia in different local settings.

I maintain an interest in pain, suffering and language.

Postgraduate Supervision

I am happy to supervise on: aspects of society and/or culture in postsocialist/postcommunist states; persecution or imprisonment; suffering and trauma; personhood and the self; history and memory and nation-building; other projects using ethnographic methods and/or life-story approaches. Expressions of interest are invited for the following project:

The government of memory of the socialist past in eastern-central Europe
PhD projects are invited that explore the production of authoritative discourses on the socialist past (for example in school education, commemoration, memorials) in a country of choice from the former eastern bloc and Soviet Union. Memory is as integral to nation-building as it is to individual identity. The question thus arises how formerly socialist countries are integrating this period in wider historical narratives. Whilst there is considerable research on social memory and nostalgia in postsocialism in anthropology, there is a lack of work on the use of memory discourses and history-writing for the purpose of government. The project therefore asks how and why certain views of the past gain authoritative status; on who the actors in governmental memory-work are; and what past and present contexts drive narrative production. Some of this work has been done on eastern Germany, but other eastern bloc states and former SU countries require similar anthropological explorations to enable a better understanding of memory-work after fundamental regime-change.

Current students:

Diana Kopbayeva (co-supervised with Dr Nick Megoran; ft, f): 'Building the Kazakh nation: An exploration of discourses of nation-building in Kazakhstan'.

Esteem Indicators

I have given a number of invited papers at national and international institutions including: the Department of Anthropology at Goldsmith, the department of sociology at Aberdeen University, the Max Plank Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany, and the Zeitgeist seminar series at Bristol University.

I am a member of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) and Association of Social Anthropologists, UK and of the Commonwealth (ASA).

For several years I convened the interdisciplinary network 'Memory and History in Postsocialism', which aims to champion the work of eastern European scholars. The network developed out of an international conference at Newcastle in September 2008. I was a member of the interdisciplinary AHRC-funded network 'After the Wall' (2009-2010).


Durham University studentship 2000-2002
ESRC postdoctoral fellowship 2003-2004
ESRC First Grant 2007-2009
HSS Faculty REF grant 2010-11
UTLC Teaching Innovation Grant 2011-12 (with Geoff Payne)
NISR grant 2015 (with Lisa Garforth and Adel Pasztor)
GPS RC small grant 2015 (with Lisa Garforth and Adel Pasztor)
GPS teaching development grant 2014-15 (with Adel Pasztor)




Undergraduate Teaching

SOC1027: Comparing Cultures (Stage 1)

SOC3989: Memory, identity and nation-building in eastern Europe: the view from anthropology (Stage 3).

UG dissertation supervision

Previous: SOC1031: Knowing in Sociology: An Introduction to Theory, Methods and Epistemology (Stage 1). In 2011-12 a UTLC Teaching Innovation Grant supports a project on the use of laptops in small group work on this module (with Geoff Payne).

Postgraduate Teaching

SOC8049: The representation of culture: debates about ethnography in anthropology.

MA supervision