- Research Fellow
Dr. Fatima Bapumia is a research fellow in the project What’s at Stake in the Fake in which she and Rene Gerrets look into the use of language as a symbolic interpretation of anxieties around ‘fake’ drugs in Tanzania. Fatima works with ethnographic fieldwork methods to understand how ‘rumors about things fake’ circulate in and animate local contexts and influence peoples’ interactions around pharmaceuticals. She is particularly interested in how the notion of ‘fakeness’ is verbalized in Gujarati and other South Asian languages popularly spoken in Tanzania.
In 2016 Fatima received her doctoral degree in cultural studies from the University of Leipzig. Her thesis addresses the dynamics of cultural boundaries among ethno-racial minorities in Tanzania. As a participant-observer, Fatima explored the role of religion and popular culture in the processes of inclusion and exclusion in ethno-racial communities. She worked with high school youngsters identifying themselves as South Asian, Arab, and Balouch in their everyday encounters with their African classmates, friends, and neighbors. The verbal expression of ethno-racial othering stood out in Fatima’s doctoral research. Fatima’s current research anchors upon pharmaceuticals to further extend her interest in ethnicity, migration, and cultural boundaries.