Jelena Tosic

Jelena Tosic

Jelena Tosic

Prof. Dr.

Assistant Professor

Büro 51-6038
Unterer Graben 21
9000 St. Gallen
Main Focuses

Jelena Tosic is Assistant Professor for Transcultural Studies at the University of St.Gallen. She was an interim Professor (state and transnationalism) at the University of Bern (2014/2015), Junior Professor for Ethnology at the University of Konstanz (2013/2014), APART AAS-CEE Fellow of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (2011-2017), and guest researcher at various universities and research institutions (MPI for Social Anthropology Halle an der Saale, FMK Belgrade, Center for Balkan Studies / Goldsmiths University, MMG MPI Göttingen etc). She gained her doctoral degree with an ethnography on socio-cultural transformations in post-socialist Serbia (University of Vienna). In her Habilitation (University of Bern) she developed an ethnographic / historical anthropological perspective on borderlands in Southeast Europe through the lens of (forced) migration. She is currently Project Leader in the Project "Europe's Un/Deserving: Moralizations of Inequality in Comparative Perspective" (2021-2024, funded by the SNSF) at the University of St.Gallen. She is Series Co-Editor of the EASA Book Series, Berghahn (2020-24) and was Co-Convenor of the Regional Group Europe at the German Anthropological Association (GAA, 2013-2021).

Her research interests include: (Im)Mobility, (Forced) Migration and Border Studies; Citizenship; Inequality; Deservingness; Transculturality/Trans- nationalism; Education; Tango; Methods (Ethnography, Historical Anthropology/Memory, Comparative Research).

Regional Focus: Europe (Central, SEE), Mediterranean

Further fields of research



Post-totalitarian/Post-Conflict Societies/State-Civil Society Relations

Globalization and Human Rights/Transitional Justice

  • Habilitation, University of Bern, March 2020
  • PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna, November 2005
  • MA in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna, June 1999 
  • MA studies in Psychology, University of Vienna (1992-1995)
Professional Career
  • Assistant Professor for Transcultural Studies, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland (August 2018- present)
  • Project Leader “Europe’s Un/Deserving: Moralizations of Inequality in Comparative Perspective” (Funding SNSF, Host Institution: Transcultural Studies, SHSS University of St. Gallen, 2021-2024)
  • Project Co-Leader “Digital Inclusion” (DIGITClue), Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships (2021-2023)
  • Project Co-Leader “Translating Socio-Cultural Anthropology into Education” (TRANSCA), Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships (September 2018-2020) 
  • AAS-CEE (APART) Fellow at the Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna (2011-2018)
  • Lecturer at the Donau University Krems, Austria (Department for New Educational Technologies) (2018-2019)
  • Associated Researcher, Department for Social Anthropology, University of Bern (January 2017- present)
  • Expert Adviser and Trainer at the Beratungsstelle Extremismus, Vienna (2017-2019)
  • Research Fellow at the Center for Comparative Conflict Studies, FMK Singidunum University, Belgrade (since 2010)
  • Oberassistentin, Department for Social Anthropology, University of Bern (2016)
  • Interim Professorship (Anthropology of the State and Transnationalism), Department for Social Anthropology, University of Bern (2014/2015)
  • Junior Professor for Ethnology (Focus Political Anthropology), University of Konstanz (2013/2014)
  • Visiting Fellow at the Max PlanckInstitute for Religiousand Ethnic Diversity (MMPG), Göttingen (February/March 2013)
  • Associated Researcher at the project „Multiethnicity, multiculturalism, migrations – contemporary processes“, Ethnographic Institute, Serbian Academy of Sciences, Belgrade (2010-2018)
  • Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of the Balkans, Goldsmiths University of London (March-May 2010)
  • University Assistant at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Vienna (2007– 2011)
  • Visiting Fellow MPI for Social Anthropology, Halle an der Saale (April-May 2006)
  • Researcher at the Commission for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2001-2007
  • Researcher at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Continuing Education, University of Vienna, 2000/2001
  • University Assistant at Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna. 1999-2000
Teaching Activities
  • Tango Fever – Transcultural, mobile and gendered trajectories of relational movement, University of St.Gallen (Autumn Semester 2023)
  • Ethnographies of (Im)Mobility - Exploring Migration, Borders and Inequality in Europe and Beyond, University of St.Gallen (Autumn Semester 2022)
  • Figures of (Un)Deservingness: Exploring Inequality at the Intersection of Research and Comic-Art, University of St.Gallen (cooperation with the artist Giulio Camagni and Andreas Streinzer, Autumn Semester 2022)
  • Workshop Cultures, University of St.Gallen (Spring Semester 2022)
  • Citizenship - Theorizing Belonging, Power and Deservingness, University of St.Gallen (Autumn Semester 2021, Spring Semester 2023)
  • Integrative Portfolioseminar Cultures, University of St.Gallen (Spring Semester 2021) 
  • Deservingness - Debating Inequality and „Culture“ in times of Crisis, University of St.Gallen (Fall Semester 2020, with Andreas Streinzer) 
  • Knowledge, Power, Culture - Rethinking (former) Yugoslavia, University of St.Gallen (Spring Semester 2020, with Sandra King-Savic) 
  • Orientalismus, Balkanismus, Okzidentalismus, University of St. Gallen (Fall Semester 2019)
  • Re-Imagining the Balkans: Critical Intersectional Perspectives and Comparisons, University of St. Gallen (Spring Semester 2019)
  • Migration, Zugehörigeit, Macht: Transkulturelle Perspektiven in bewegten Zeiten, University of St. Gallen (Spring Semester 2019, 2020)
  • Kultur,Diversität und (Moral)-Ökonomie - Überlegungen und Fallbeispiele aus Süd-/Osteuropa, University of St. Gallen (Fall Semester 2018)
  • Borders, Migrants, Ideologies: Contemporary fears and politics in Europe and its fringes, University of St. Gallen (Fall Semester 2018)



Teaching International (selection)


  • Fieldwork-Praktikum (incl.  Methodological Seminar): Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO) in Austria, University of Vienna 
  • Anthropology of Digital Literacy, University of Vienna
  • Introduction into Migration Studies, University of Vienna
  • Applied Anthropology, University of Vienna
  • Current Trends in European Educational Anthropology, University of Vienna
  • Ethnography of the Archive: Narration, History and Power, University of Vienna
  • Borders, Frontiers, Borderlands: Anthropological and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, University of Bern
  • Time and the Anthropologist: Exploring ethnographic engagements with temporality and history, University of Bern 
  • States, Borders and Mobility: Anthropology of Transnationalism and Beyond, University of Bern 
  • Imperien, Staaten, Grenzen, Mobilitäten. Anthropologisch-Kulturhistorische Einblicke in die Dynamiken von Identität und Differenz in Europa, Universität Konstanz 
  • Multilocality: Tackling Human Mobility and Migration through Place, Space and Time, University of Vienna 
  • Religion, Moralität, Humanitarismus: Aktuelle Anthropologische Perspektiven und Debatten, University of Vienna
  • Dimensions of Flight: anthropological Perspectives on Theories, Methods and Policies, University of Vienna
  • Bachelorseminar: Theoretical Discourses, University of Vienna
  • Anthropology of Postsocialism, University of Vienna
  • Life History and Migration, University of Vienna
  • Anthropology of Human Rights, University of Vienna
  • Life-scripts and Borders: Second Generation Migrants in Vienna, University of Vienna
  • Jump into the Field. A practice-oriented introduction into fieldwork (1&2), University of Vienna
  • Qualitative Interviews and Fieldwork Methods, Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Continuing Education, University of Vienna (IFF)
  • Europe’s Un/Deserving: Moralizations of Inequality in Comparative Perspective (Principal  Investigator, Project Coordination together with Andreas Streinzer, 2021-2024, Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation)
  • Member of the DFG-Netzwerk: Migration und Im/Mobilität im Globalen Süden in Zeiten einer Pandemie, 2022-2024 (Project leaders: Heike Drotbohm/University of Mainz & Antje Missbach/University of Bielefeld)
  • DIGITClue – Digital inclusion, Erasmus+Strategic Partnership (Project Co-Leader together with Christa Markom, 2021-2023), European Commission
  • Start-Up Financing Grant awarded by the Basic Research Fund (GFF) of the University of St.Gallen (HSG) for the Project “Europe’s Un/Deserving” (May-October 2019)
  • TRANSCA – Translating Social and Cultural Anthropology into Education, Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership (Project Co-Leader together with Christa Markom, 2018-2020), EuropeanCommission
  • Winning Abstract & Funding by the EASA (Anthropology of Economy Network) for the Workshop “Deservingness – power,morality and inequality in contemporary Europeand beyond“ (2018)
  • Funding by the Faculty of Humanities, University of Bern for the Workshop “Existential Perspectives on Mobility and Immobility” (see Panels & Workshops) (2017)
  • Austrian Academy of Sciences Central and East European Fellowship (AAS-CEE)/APART Project: “Diversity and Coexistence in a Peaceful Balkan Border Region. The Shkodra/Skadar Region in the Forefront of EU-Accession” (2011-2018)
  • Researcher and Trainer at the project “The Conflict in South Serbia and its Aftermath”, CFCCS 2010, funded by UNDP (February-June 2011)
  • Lead researcher at the project „Salomon. Developing a research methodology for exploring migrant’s individual and collective threat perceptions “, Research Unit, Austrian red Cross & Sigmund Freud University (SFU), (June-December 2007), funded by KIRAS-Security Research, Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology
  • Lead Researcher at the project “The district as a socio-cultural habitat in transition: the example of a disadvantaged urban area of Vienna”, funded by the National Bank, Austria (2000-2001)
  • Researcher at the project “Negotiating Social Identities among Work-Migrants and the old- established Viennese citizens” financed by the Research Fund on Xenophobia of the Austrian Ministry of Science(1997-1998)
  • EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists)
  • SIEF (International Society for Ethnology and Folklore)
  • SEG (Swiss Anthropological Association)
  • Working Group Anthropology and Education (SEG)
  • AAA (American Anthropological Association)
  • GAA (German Anthropological Association)
  • InASEA (International Association for Southeast European Anthropology)



Selected Talks (last 5 years)


Invited Talks


  • Rethinking the “myth of return”: Intertwinements of the political, biographic, and epistemological imaginaries of Southeastern Europe, International Academic Week (Organised by: Southeast European Association Munich & Akademie für Politische Bildung Tutzing), Topic: Return Migration and its Consequences in Southeast Europe, 3rd-7th October 2022 (cancelled)
  • Invited Input-Commentary at the Round Table “Doing Research in Post / Conflict Societies: Research and Ideological (Dis)Engagement” (Organisation: Sandra King-Savic, SHSS/GCE, University of St.Gallen), July 8th 2022 
  • Invited Talk at the “Geneva Covention 70th Anniversary, Critical Debate at the HSG”, University of St.Gallen, October 29th 2021
  • Invited talk “Educational Anthropology” at ANTHROfutures II - Applied Anthropology, Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna 25.6.2021 (together with Christa Markom, online due to the Covid-19 Pandemic)
  • Input on applying Anthropology of Education at the Workshop How to Apply Anthropology? Challenges for an Academic Discipline, 4-5 March 2021, Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt (with Christa Markom, online due to the Covid-19 Pandemic)
  • Common Sense – Anthropologische Reflexionen zu Gramsci in Zeiten des Populismus (Habilitation Lecture, University of Bern, Faculty of Humanities, March 23d 2020)
  • The relational ethics of “never (…) too much”, Invited Talk at the Philosophical Colloquium, HSG SHSS, April 25th2019
  • Input talk at the Roundtable African-European trajectories of (im)mobility / universities and cities as sites of refuge, (Journal Launch “Migration and Society), University College London, UK, March 19th 2019
  • Migrants, Minorities, Sovereignties: Ethnographic-Historical Reflections on “ways of life” in a Southeast European Borderland, EAWARN Seminar (Ethnological Monitoring and Early Warning and Russian Academy of Sciences), Vienna October 18th 2018
  • Relatingacross Borders and Times – Reflections on Minorities, the State and Legacies of Migration in Southeastern Europe, Contribution to the Panel Discussion “Contestation and Concepts of Space and Time”, ZOiS Conference 2018 “Contested Spaces”, Berlin, March 1st-2nd 2018 (cancelled)
  • Language at the Frontier: UrbanHistory, Bilingualism and Identity Politicsin the European Semi- Periphery, Brunel University London/Uxbridge, February 27th 2018
  • Border and/as method - Some Reflections on on-going research, Brunel University London/Uxbridge, February 28th 2018
  • The “State within the State”: History, Migration and Sovereignties in the Montenegrin-Albanian Borderland, Panel 14: Landscapes of Sovereignty: Everyday Life at the Margins of the State, Meeting of Peace and Conflict Studiesin Anthropology (PACSA)in Amsterdam, 28-30 August 2017
  • Capturing Mobility through the Multilocality Lens: Cases from Russia and the Balkans. 3d CoRe Workshop Mobility and Remoteness. What is the Connection? University of Vienna, 26.5.2917 (with Gertrude Saxinger)
  • Language, power and social location: ‘translating’ minority language education policy and (re)negotiating peripherality in Montenegro, Workshop Translating Policy In The Semi-Periphery, Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg, 04-06 May 2017
  • The relational ethics of “never (…) too much”: Situating and scaling intimate uncertainties in an Adriatic harbor, Workshop “Intimateuncertainties: existential crises,moral consequences and feminist interventions”, University of Bern/Schloss Übersdorf, January 26-28, 2017



 Conference Talks


  • Occluded mobilities: urban conjunctures and border effects along the “Balkan Route”, Paper at the Third World Conference of the Association for Borderland Studies (ABS) Conference, Eilat campus of Ben-Gurion University, 13-18 February 2023
  • Deserving (of) the city: Intertwined moralizations of belonging, resistance and investment, Panel  “Unsettling Deservingness – insurgent claims and intimate solidarities of worth”, November 9th-13th 2022, AAA Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, USA (cancelled)
  • Scaling down and empowering Theory - Anthropology of (Digital) Education in Practice (with Magdalena Steger), Panel “Knowledge Transfer between Theory and Practice in Educational Anthropology, Vienna Anthropology Days (VANDA), September 26th-30th 2022
  • Challenging privilege: incorporating the concept of deservingness into critical diversity studies  (with Christa Binswanger), March 25th 2022, WU Gender and Diversity Conference 2022
  • Online Sources for Translating Anthropology into Teacher Education. Insights and Outcomes from a European educational anthropological research project, IUAES Conference 2021, Sibenik (Panel 41: Technology: Teaching and Learning Anthropology Around the World (with Christa Markom, online due to the Covid-19 Pandemic)
  • Populist „Variations“ on Migration Anthropological Reflections on Serbia, the “Balkan Route” and Covid-19, ESOF, Trieste, September 3d 2020 (online due to the Covid-19 Pandemic)
  • Wissen, Übersetzung, Aushandlung - Reflexionen aus dem Bildungsanthropologischen Erasmus+ Projekt "Translating Sociocultural Anthropology into Education" (TRANSCA), Biannual Conference of the German Anthropological Association, University of Konstanz, 29th September to 2nd October 2019 (with Christa Markom)
  • Bordering Totalitarian Legacies: (Re)Negotiating Gender, History and the State in the Albanian- Montenegrin Borderland, 14th International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) Congress, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, April 14-17, 2019 (accepted, cancelled)
  • Remembering Totalitarianism across Borders: State, Affect and Family History from a Transnational Perspective, 9th InASEA Congress, Zadar, Croatia, 27th-30th September 2018 (accepted, cancelled)
  • The Emics of Multilocality: Legacies of (Im)mobility and the Politics of Belonging in an Eastern- Adriatic Borderland (Panel “Thinking through Multilocality: Mobility, Place and Time Reconsidered”, AAA Annual Meeting 2016, November 16-20 Minneapolis)
  • Re-Visiting History, Re-Discovering Places: Historicity and (De)Marginalization in the EasternAdriatic, EASA Biennial Conference, Milano, 20-23.7.2016 (Panel 76: Empowering the silenced memories: grassroots practices in urban revitalization politics)



Conferences, Panels & Workshops


  • Panel, "Strategic alliances in entanglements of commons and non-commons" (convenors: Andreas Streinzer and Jelena Tosic), XIX Biennial IASC Conference 'The Commons We Want: Between Historical Legacies and Future Collective Actions‘, Nairobi, Kenya June 19-24, 2023
  • Panel, „ Modalities of deservingness in current solidarity spaces in Europe“ (Convenors: Violetta Zentai (Central European University), Jelena Tosic (University of St.Gallen), Margit Feischmidt (Center for Social Sciences (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Andreas Streinzer (University of St.Gallen), SIEF2023 16th Congress „Living Uncertertainty“, Brno, Czech Republic, June 7-10th 2023
  • Convenor of the Panel “Unsettling Deservingness – insurgent claims and intimate solidarities of worth”, November 9th-13th, AAA Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, USA (with Andreas Streinzer)
  • Convenor of the Roundtable „Ethnographies of Deservingness“ (Guests: Susana Narotzky, Sabine Strasser, Erik Bähre, Chair: Insa Koch), October 27th, 18h15-20h (A HSG Ethnography Talks hybrid Event, with Andreas Streinzer)
  • Convenor of the Workshop “Common(ing) Struggles” (May 2nd – 4th 2022, University of St.Gallen, Key-Note: Miriam Ticktin (New School/CUNY), with Andreas Streinzer) 
  • Panel (Chair): Scalar Contaminations – Mapping the Consequences of "Europe", GAA Conference 27-30. September 2021 (RG Europe, together with Andreas Streinzer and Dumitrita Lunca)
  • “Samo vjeran pas?” Workshop on Post-Yugoslav Neoliberal Academic Selves and Possibilities of Knowing the Balkans Otherwise, University of St Gallen (HSG), in cooperation with the University of Neuchâtel (UniNE), Switzerland, 5-7th February 2020 (co-organized with Suncana Laketa/Uni Ne and Sandra King-Savic/HSG)
  • Panel: (Post)Totalitarianism? Western Balkan Experiences, University of St.Gallen, October 25th 2019 (co-organized with Sandra King-Savic HSG)
  • Convenor of the Workshop “"Common sense" and the End of Negotiations? Exploring Contemporary Europe through and beyond Ideology“, Biannual Conference of the German Anthropological Association, University of Konstanz, 29th September to 2nd October 2019
  • Convenor of the Conference “Rurality and Future-Making: Comparative Perspectives from Europe, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean“, University of Cologne, 22nd - 24th of May 2019 (joint conference by the the GAA Regional Groups RG Europe, RG Mediterranean and RG Middle East)
  • Convenor of the Workshop “Deservingness - power, morality and inequality in contemporary Europe and beyond”, Workshop of the EASA Anthropology of Economy Network, October 27th- 28th, 2017, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna (with Andreas Streinzer)
  • Convenor of the Workshop “Tracing sensesof deservingness: intersectional perspectives on power, morality and distribution in contemporary Europe”, RG Europe Panel,DGV-Tagung 2017 (with Andreas Streinzer, as Coordinators of the Regional Group Europe at the DGV)
  • Convenor of the Workshop “Existential Perspectives on Mobility and Immobility”, Institute for Social Anthropology, Bern University, 2-3.12.2016 (with Annika Lems/UniBern)
  • Convenor of the panel “Thinking through Multilocality: Mobility, Place and Time Reconsidered”, AAA Annual Meeting 2016, November 16-20 Minneapolis Convention Center (with Gertrude Saxinger/Uni Wien) (submitted April 15th 2016)
  • Discussant at the Panel "Uncertainties as a Playground for Moralities" at the SEG Jahrestagung – Colloque Annuel de la SSE – Annual Meeting of the SEG-SSE SEG/SSE Conference, Bern, 12-14.11.2015, Institute of Social Anthropology, University Bern
  • Convenor of the Panel “Socio-economic and moral blueprints on the rise: Euro- Mediterranean Comparisons” (RG Europa, Co-Coordinator), DGV-Tagung, Marburg, 30.9. - 3.10, 2015
  • Convenor of the panel “Localising Moralities: Economy, Intimacy and Sociality in SEE”, 7th InASEA Congress “Cultures of Crisis”, September18-20th 2014, Kadir Has University, Istanbul (with Sabine Strasser)
  • Convenor of the panel “Contested Histories on the Move: Rethinking Memory through Mobility and Agency”, EASA Conference, Tallin 31.7.-3.8. 2014 (with Monika Palmberger)


Editorial Board
  • Series Co-Editor EASA Book Series, Berghahn, 2020-2024 (with Sabine Strasser and Annika Lems)
  • Co-organiser of the “HSG-Ethnography Talks”, School for Humanities and Social Sciences, University of St.Gallen
  • (Co)Coordinator of the Europe Regional Working Group at the GAA (German Anthropological Association) (2013-2021, with Andreas Streinzer and Dumitrita Lunca)
Additional Information

Academic Management


  • Co-Coordinator of the Teaching Focus Cultures (Kontextstudium), School for Humanities and Social Sciences, University of St.Gallen 
  • Member of the Tenure and Promotion Comission, HSG (since 2022)
  • Mittelbau/Non-Tenured Faculty-Representative SHSS/Mittelbauparlament (since 2020) and Senat (since Februar 2023), University of St.Gallen
  • Member of the Curriculum Development Commission of the Master Studies Programme “Interdisciplinary East-European Studies” at the University of Vienna (2014)
  • Vice-head of the study programme, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Vienna, 2007/2008
  • Coordinator of the Departmental Archive, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Vienna, 2007-2011


Reviewer for


  • Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
  • Theodor Körner Award
  • American Anthropologist
  • Manchester University Press
  • The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
  • Anthropological Theory
  • Contemporary Southeastern Europe
  • Global Networks: A Journal for International Affairs
  • Memory Studies