Karin Ahlberg


Karin Ahlberg





nach Vereinbarung

Karin Ahlberg is a social anthropologist and a CRDF postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Anthropology and Cultural Research with focus on maritime and more-than-human anthropology.

Karin’s research explores the origins and effects of an unprecedented marine-species transformation in the Mediterranean Sea. In 1869, the opening of the Suez Canal shortened the route between Europe and India, accelerated human and goods mobility and facilitated the colonization of eastern Africa and the East. But every human infrastructural project is also a multispecies affair. As a result of successive dredging of the canal to allow for larger vessels, the Suez Canal today constitutes a free-flowing water passageway between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea/Indian Ocean. So far, more than 600 tropical marine species have moved through the canal and settled in the Mediterranean Sea. The new species are changing seascapes and sea cultures in various ways: invasive species take over seascapes and threat endemic species, fishermen find new sources of income in an overfished sea, sea traffic is regulated to avoid the spread of alien species and new culinary dishes are emerging. Karin explores this unruly environmental afterlife of the Suez Canal on land and under the surface through ethnographic research with humans and fishes in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin.

Karin received her PhD from SOAS, University of London in 2017. Her PhD dissertation explores statecraft, image making and the politics of Egyptian tourism before and after 2011. She conducted twenty months of fieldwork in Cairo in the aftermath of the 2011 Revolution and is currently working on a book manuscript based on this research. Before joining the department, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago and a Teacher at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo and Stockholm University.

Karin is also the PI of two research projects The Environmental Afterlife of the Suez Canal and BIOrdinary: biodiversity dilemmas in ordinary places with home at the Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University.

Ahlberg, K. (2023). Egypt With or Without Islam: The Work Behind Glossy Tourism Advertisements. In Branding the Middle East: Communication Strategies and Image Building from Qom to Casablanca, (Ed.) Steffen Wippel. Walter de Gruyter.

Ahlberg, K. (2022). Who Cares about Jellyfish? An Environmental Legacy of the Suez Canal Begins to Surface. International Journal of Middle East Studies54(4), 764-771.