Dr Johana Wyss

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Postdoctoral Affiliate

Johana is a Social and Cultural Anthropologist, focusing on the dynamic relationship between collective identity and cultural collective memory. The main questions that drive her intellectual curiosity relate to the political use of the past in the present, to possibilities and limits of collective identity formation, and to exploring the most suitable methods and methodological positions to research these areas.  

She completed her doctoral research at the University of Oxford in 2018 with a thesis entitled Silesian Identity: the Interplay of Memory, History and Borders. Based on longitudinal fieldwork in the Silesian borderlands (Opava and the Hlučín area), Johana provided an ethnographic account of how ostracised minority groups negotiate their collective identities and difficult heritage vis-à-vis national sentiments and nation-state apparatus within the social and historical context of East-Central Europe. Her research was supported by the Scatcherd European Scholarship Award.

In addition to her doctoral research, she coordinated and delivered Undergraduate and Postgraduate classes, seminars, and tutorials at the University of Oxford and elsewhere. These classes included Introduction to Memory Studies, Nations and Nationalism, Anthropology of Europe, Social Psychology, Pop Culture and Methods and Methodology in Social Sciences.

In the academic year of 2017-18, she was a Mellon-Sawyer Postgraduate Fellow, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Within this post, and as a member of an interdisciplinary team, she co-organised Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Series Post-War: Commemoration, Reconstruction, Reconciliation held jointly at TORCH, the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University. More details here.

Research and teaching interests: Social and Cultural Anthropology, Memory Studies, Identity, Cultural Sociology, Contemporary History, Ethnicity and Nationalism, Regionalism and Separatism, Borderlands, Official and Vernacular Memories, Migration and Forced Displacement, Qualitative Methods and Methodology, Central Europe.