The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Anselma Gallinat

Reader in Social Anthropology


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 have contributed to the faculty's PhD training programme and supervise dissertations at UG and MA level, as well as PhDs. 

Areas of expertise

  • Fundamental regime-change
  • The anthropology of post-socialism
  • Narrative and rhetoric 
  • Ethnography and life-stories
  • Memory and history-writing
  • East/eastern Germany

Significant administrative roles:

Module Leader Sociology Dissertation.

Admissions Tutor, Sociology 2014-17
TA Mentor 2011-2013
Degree Programme Director for Sociology 2010-2013
Staff coordinator of the peer-mentoring scheme: 2012-13
Module Leader of the Sociology UG Dissertation 2006-09

Google scholar: Click here.



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 later conducted ethnographic research at an eastern German daily paper in 2007-08. Apart from Anthropology my UG studies included Media Studies and History.

Principal research grants and research leadership

2018-2021, Standard Grant AHRC: 'Knowing the Secret Police: Secrecy and knowledge in East German society'. with Joanne Sayner, Newcastle University and Sara Jones, University of Birmingham. PI and Convenor of the ‘Networks’ strand (approx. £970,000 100% FEC).  Twitter: @SecretsStasi 

2007-2009, First Grant, ESRC: 'The social construction of the socialist past in eastern Germany',  (approx. £236,000 @ 100% FEC).

2004, ESRC postdoctoral fellowship: 'Personhood and narrative in eastern Germany', (approx. £26,500).

I maintain an interest in institutions and organisations and co-convened a one day symposium on rapid reform in Higher Education with Lisa Garforth and Adel Pasztor in 2015:

25th September 2015: Negotiating reform in contemporary Higher Education: The question of ‘student engagement’. The event was supported by a grant from NISR and the School of GPS.

In 2018 I co-organised a one day conference with Geoff Payne, Ruth Graham and Lisa Garforth to consider the pasts and futures of meritocracy in the year of Michael Young's books 60th anniversary:

9th April 2018: 'Merit or meritocracy: 60 years and counting'. The event was supported by a University Excellence Grant and the School of GPS.

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.

Recent students:

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


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


Undergraduate Teaching

SOC1027: Comparing Cultures (Stage 1)

SOC3089: 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).

In 2014-15 I held a School of GPS teaching innovation grant (with Adel Pasztor) to explore how UG students engage with feedback on assessments.

Postgraduate Teaching

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

MA supervision