Photo of Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg

Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg

Broom Professor of Social Demography and Anthropology, Sociology and Anthropology
Co-Director of Africana Studies, Africana Studies

Education & Professional History

Indiana University (Bloomington), BA; Johns Hopkins University, MA, PhD

At Carleton since 1993.

Highlights & Recent Activity

Recent Grants/Fellowships, 2010-2021

2021–Public Works Grant, Carleton College, for the project “Cameroon Indigenous Language Revitalization” (a public scholarship grant to support publication and distribution to Cameroonian schools of a biographic-ethnographic volume in an endangered local language).

2021–Curricular Innovation Grant, “Combining QRE and WR2: Teaching Multi-method Sensibilities to Explore Why Transnational Black Lives Matter.”

2021–Student Research Assistant award through the Rosenfeld Endowed Fund, for the project “Authoritarianism, Collective Memory, and COVID-19 Rumors in Cameroon and its Diasporas.”

2020-2021–Public Works Grant, Carleton College, for the project “Social Connectedness and Fostering Mental Well-being for Refugees and Victims of Torture.”

2019–Research Affiliate, Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale, École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (research team Parenté et Logiques Relationnelles) (February-June)

2019–Residence, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle (January)

2018–Residential Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, Stellenbosch, South Africa (July-December)

2017-2023–Appointed to the International Advisory Board (Fachbeirat) of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle.

2017–Small Faculty Development Grant, Carleton College (for summer research, Cameroon, Paris, and Berlin).

2017–Student Research Assistance Award, Dean’s Discretionary Fund, Carleton College (for transcription of interviews conducted among Cameroonians in Paris).

2016–Residency award, July-August 2016, Maison Suger, Centre international de recherche, d’accueil et de coopération pour chercheurs étrangers de haut niveau de la Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme.

2015-2016–Student Research Assistance Award, Dean’s Discretionary Fund, Carleton College (for transcription of interviews conducted among Cameroonians in Paris).

2015–Small Faculty Development Grant, Carleton College (for summer research, Paris).

2013-14–Fellow, Kaete Hamburger Centre for Advanced Study, “Law as Culture,” Bonn, to write a book, Mothers on the Move, about how Cameroonian mothers migrate to seek better conditions in which to raise families, forging new connections to manage the resulting tension between mobility and rootedness.

2012-13–Visuality Initiative, Writing Across the Curriculum, and Humanities Center Student Research Grants, Carleton College.

2010-11–Post-Ph.D. Research Grant and Osmundsen Initiative Supplement, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research; Hewlett Mellon Fellowship, Carleton College.

Recent Publications, 2010-2020

2020–Kin-Care and Well-Being for Children and Youth in Cameroon’s Intersecting Uncertainties. NEOS: A Publication of the Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group. 12(2),

2020–“Class Performances: Children’s Parties and the Reproduction of Social Class among Diasporic Cameroonians,” Africa Today 66 (3-4):21-43.

2019–Strange Expectations: Cameroonian Migrants and their German Healthcare Providers debate Obstetric Choices. Global Public Health

2018–Comment on Krause, Elizabeth L., and Massimo Bressan. 2018. Circulating Children, Underwriting Capitalism: Chinese Global Households and Fast Fashion in Italy. Current Anthropology 59(5): 572-595 [584-586].

2018–African Diasporas in Europe (and Beyond): A Conversation Between Two Anthropologists. EuropeNow Journal, Issue 15, March 2018,

2017–Revelation and Secrecy: Women’s Social Networks and the Contraception-Abortion Process in Cameroon (with Sylvie Schuster). In Transcending Borders: Abortion in the Past and Present, edited by Tracy Penny Light and Shannon Stettner. Pp. 239-254. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

2016– Mothers on the Move: Reproducing Belonging between Africa and Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press .

2016 Migranten, Recht und Identität: Afrikanische Mütter und das Ringen um Zugehörigkeit in Berlin. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag (Series: Kultur und soziale Praxis).

2016–Forging Belonging through Children in the Berlin Cameroonian Diaspora.” In Affective Circuits: African Migrations to Europe and the Pursuit of Social Regeneration, edited by Jennifer Cole and Christian Groes-Green. Pp. 54-77. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2015–Mothers on the Move: Mobility and Intensive Care Work among Cameroonian Migrants to Germany [Webs of Care across the Mothering Career: Care by and for Cameroonian Migrant Mothers and their Children in Germany]. pp. 207-230 In Anthropological Perspectives on Care: Work, Kinship and the Life Course, edited by Erdmute Alber and Heike Drotbohm. London: Palgrave.

2013–Wilson, Monica. Pp. 933-935 In: Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology, R. Jon McGee and Richard Warms, eds. London: SAGE.

2010–Urbanites and Urban Villagers: Comparing ‘home’ among elite and non-elite Bamileke women’s hometown associations. Africa 80(3):371-396.

Papers Presented, 2018-2022

2022–“En France, les parents sont différents”: Hardship, Care, and Shifting Boundaries of Relatedness in Cameroonian Transnational Families. Paper to be presented at the Anthropology Colloquium, Universität Hamburg, May 31, 2022.

2022– What Kind of Hardship Does Good Parenting Allow? The Emotions of Social Class in Child Fostering and Custody among Transnational Cameroonians. Paper to be presented at the workshop “Politics of Good Parenting: Normativities, Distinctions, Interventions” at the Institut für Ethnologie und Afrikastudien, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, May 19-20, 2022.

2021–Hardship, Care, and the Contraction of Child Fostering Practices: Shifting Boundaries of Relatedness in Cameroonian Transnational Families. Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting, Baltimore, November 17, 2021.

2021–Kinship Obligations in Reverse (I: Relationship Dramas; II: Conflicts Over Care), double session organized for the American Anthropological Association annual meeting, Baltimore, November 17, 2021.

2021–Memory Genealogies and Public Health: Authoritarianism and COVID-19 Rumors in Cameroon and its Diasporas. Paper presented at the Fifth Annual Conference of the Memory Studies Association, ‘Convergences’, Warsaw (Poland), July 7, 2021.

2021–Perilously Reproducing Belonging: Transnational Cameroonians, Kinship and (Dis-)Connection. Invited paper presented at the conference “Studies of Belonging,” organized and hosted by the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS), for a panel in honor of Peter Geschiere and his work on belonging, presented June 9, 2021.

2020–“En France, les parents sont différents”: Hardship, Care, and Shifting Boundaries of Relatedness in Cameroonian Transnational Families. Planned presentation at the Anthropology Colloquium, Universitaet Hamburg, 23 June 2020, cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.

2020–Lessons from Cameroon and its Diasporas for the Age of Coronavirus, roundtable presentation, Alliance Française of MSP, 27 March 2020 (Mois de la Francophonie: Cameroun).

2019–Class Acts: Migration and Social Mobility in Africa and its Diasporas (Introduction to a session of the same name, co-authored with Cati Coe and Julia Pauli). Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association and Canadian Anthropology Society Annual Meeting, Vancouver, 20-24 November, 2019.

2019–Collective Memory, Rumor Genealogies, and their Public Health Consequences in Cameroon. Paper prepared for the Memory Studies Association Annual Conference, Madrid, 25-28 June, 2019.

2019–Moving Up and Holding Ground: Ambition and Anxiety in Cameroonian Migrants’ Childhood Celebrations. Paper prepared for the colloquium “Mobilités sociales et migrations internationals,” Paris, 13-14 June 2019.

2019–Avoiding Hardship, Deflecting Conflict: Short-Circuits in Transnational Family Relations. Paper prepared for the interdisciplinary workshop “Affectivité et Conflit” organized by the research team “Affectivité, perception, sensation: le corps agissant” of the Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale, a joint program of the Collège de France, the EHESS, and CNRS, Paris, May 21, 2019.

2019–“En France, les parents sont différents”: Shifting Boundaries of Relatedness in Cameroonian Transnational Families. Paper prepared for the Parenté et Logiques Relationnelles Seminar, Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, April 19, 2019.

2019–Histoire et sociologie des migrations. Paper presented, in collaboration with Nancy L. Green, at the Social Sciences in Practice and Context seminar of the Programme Étudiants Exilés de l’EHESS, Paris, February 22, 2019.

2018–Fostering and Disciplining Children: Kinship and Class-Making Projects of Cameroonian Migrant Mothers. Paper presented at the Wits Anthropology Seminar Series, University of Witwatersrand, August 30, 2018.

2018–The Demise of African Modes of Child Fostering? What Parenting Choices tell us about Migration and Social Mobility. Paper presented at the STIAS Seminar, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, November 8, 2018.

2018–Legal Consciousness and Social Networks. Lecture presented at the University of Minnesota, Sociology of Law graduate seminar, March 28, 2018.

Organizations & Scholarly Affiliations

Organizations & Scholarly Affiliations

2017-2023–International Advisory Board (Fachbeirat) of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle.

American Anthropological Association

African Studies Association

International Africa Institute

Current Public Scholarship Engagement

Collaborative Research with the Center for Victims of Torture

Listed on Expert Witness Database, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, University of California Hastings College of the Law

Cameroon Indigenous Language Revitalization, in collaboration with the Inspecteur de la documentation/Ministère des Arts et de la Culture, Cameroon

Member, Board of Directors, Beng Community Fund

Current Courses

  • Fall 2022
    SOAN 396: Advanced Sociological and Anthropological Writing
    SOAN 400: Integrative Exercise
  • Winter 2023
    SOAN 256: Africa: Representation and Conflict
    SOAN 262: Anthropology of Health and Illness
    SOAN 290: Guatemala Program: Directed Reading
    SOAN 400: Integrative Exercise
  • Spring 2023
    SOAN 400: Integrative Exercise
Photo of Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg


Curriculum Vitae



Office Hours