Study TripPublié le 19.03.2024

Study Trip Co-inhabiting Urban Spaces: Residential Infrastructure, Built Environment, and Communal Activism in Basel

From 8-14 January 2024 we took anthropology students from the Universities of Fribourg and Bern to Basel, where they conducted research on cohabitation of urban space. Three teams had formed in advance. They investigated contrasting ideas about the past, present, and future of a changing neighborhood, explored the absence and presence of vitality in a “wasteland”, and researched how “alternativeness” is made, lived, and understood in different places. In developing and implementing their own research projects they experienced what it means to do anthropological research and to experiment and reflect on different research methods.

In our joint activities we focused on Jewish life realities in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious urban space. We saw how Jewish life realities are inscribed in (and erased from) urban landscapes and got an insight into the Jewish congregation and its vibrant cultural life. We met scientist and artists working on Jewish life and history, learned about curating exhibitions in the Jewish Museum, and discussed the current situation in Israel/Palestine, its impact on Jewish life in Switzerland, and initiatives to create dialogue and collaboration between Jews and Palestinians.

Our study trip fell on the coldest week of this winter. But the cold weather could not diminish the participants’ enormous engagement in their research projects, their curiosity and openness to learn about Jewish life and co-inhabitance, and the warm atmosphere when we discussed their work-in-progress over hot drinks or dinner. It was an intensive week full of inspiring encounters. They all showed us – once again – the beauty of anthropology.