Gerhild Perl

Gerhild Perl is a research fellow and PhD student in Social Anthropology at the University of Bern, and a member of the “Swiss Graduate Program in Anthropology”. She studied Social and Cultural Anthropology in Vienna and Lisbon and wrote her final thesis about diverging conceptions of social death. Her PhD research focuses on questions of contested moralities and ethical demands in the context of precarious lives and violent deaths at the external EU border in Spain. Her research interests are in the areas of migration and border studies, questions of ethics and morals, the anthropology of death and mourning as well as queer feminist studies.

Besides her academic career, Gerhild Perl is involved in different art projects such as literature, performance, and audio drama, wherefore she received several scholarships and awards (e.g. 2012: Scholarship for Literature funded by the Austrian Ministry of Education, Culture, and the Arts; 2014: shortlisted at the TRACK 5 competition for short radio plays).


Perl, Gerhild (2016): Uncertain Belongings. Absent mourning, burial, and post-mortem repatriations at the external border of the EU in Spain. In: Journal of Intercultural Studies. Special Issue Vol. 37(2), 198-208

Perl, Gerhild (2015): Versuch einer Antwort. Reflexionen über einen Forschungsaufenthalt an der Grenze. In: UniPress 164, University of Bern, 22-24:

Perl, Gerhild (reprint 2014): Der Telefonengel®. Versuch über das Sterben. In: Schreibkraft da capo 26, Graz:

Perl, Gerhild (2011): Unbehagliche Körper. Von Leichen, Toten und Kadavern. In: Paradigmata Zeitschrift für Menschen und Diskurse 3, Wien, 48-52

Mitterbauer, Julia and Gerhild Perl (2008): Enemies from the Inside. An exploration into queer, feminist, and anti-nationalist activism in Belgrad. In: H.arta/Katharina Morawek (eds.): Are you talking to me? Discussions on Knowledge Production, Gender Politics and Feminist Strategies. Löcker Verlag, Wien, 171-179

Presentations, Workshop and Panel Organisation

October 2017. “On the Mediterranean as an event. The after-life of deceased migrants in the Spanish-Moroccan borderlands”; Panel: “Of tidemarks and thresholds. Transborder mobilities across the Mediterranean”; Annual Conference of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Vökerkunde (DGV), Berlin

June 2017. “The shipwreck of Rota. Moralities of violent death in the Spanish-Moroccan borderlands.” Conference of the Centre for death and society (CDAS) 2017: Death at the Margins of the State. The Edge, University of Bath, UK

January 2017 IUC-research team. Workshop-organisation: “Intimate uncertainties: existential crises, moral consequences and feminist interventions”, Ueberstorf, Switzerland

November 2016. “Between stasis and movement: Remembering and imagining multilocality in a migrant’s detention centre in Spain”; Panel:  “Thinking through Multilocality: Mobility, Place and Time Reconsidered”; Annual Conference of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), Minneapolis Convention Centre

July 2016 with Laura Huttenen. Panel: Missing persons, unidentified bodies: addressing absences and negotiating identifications; 14th Biannual Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), University of Milano-Bicocca

February 2016 with IUC-research team. Workshop-organisation: “Entangled in Moralities. Studying Morals and Ethical Subjects across Borders”, University of Bern

November 2015. Presentation: “Restless Bodies. Post-mortem mobility and uncertain belongings in the Spanish-Moroccan borderlands”; Panel: “Uncertainties as a Playground for Moralities”; Annual Conference of the Swiss Ethnological Society: “Global Capitalism and the Challenge of Well‐Being in the World”, University of Bern

June 2015. Presentation: “Uncertain Belongings. Tod, Bestattung und Repatriierung an der EU-Außengrenze in Spanien”; Tagung: Das Mittelmeer und der Tod. Mediterrane Mobilität und Sepulkrarkultur, University of Bochum (invited by the organisers)

January 2015. Workshop Co-Organiser: “Politics of Representation”; “First Edinburgh Conference in Critical Migration and Border Studies” – “Politics, Practices, and Discourses of Mobility”, University of Edinburgh

June 2013. Workshop Co-Coordinator: “Crossing Borders. The Anthropology of Life and Death in Transnational Times”; Days of Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Vienna

July 2012. Presentation: “La muerte social: Una reflexión sobre la distinción entre la muerte social antes y después de la muerte biológica mediante ejemplos latinoamericanos”; 54 International Congress of Americanists: “Building Dialogues in the Americas”, Vienna


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