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Zanker, Dr. Franzisca

franzisca.zanker [at]
+49 (0)761 888 78 31
Areas of research:
Migration governance, refugee protection, peace processes, civil society
Regional focus:
Professional experience:
2017 -
Head of Research Cluster "Patterns of (Forced) Migration
October 2016 -
Senior Researcher, Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute, Freiburg
Research Fellow at GIGA Institute of African Affairs, Hamburg
Research Assistant at the Overseas Development Institute, London
Research Assistant at the Department of Political Sciences, Universiteit Leiden
Internship experiences include the OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities, The Hague (2010), The Association for the Prevention of Torture, Geneva (2008) and the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Kampala (2006)
PhD Political Science at University of Tübingen (Dissertation Title: The Legitimisation of Peace Negotiations: A Role for Civil Society)
Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy (MA) at University of Leiden
LLB (Bachelor of Law) at Exeter University/M1 en droit européen, Université de Rennes


Selected Publications:

(2023) A typology of resistance: the ‘hot potato’ of European return in West Africa, Territory, Politics, Governance, online first: 27 April 2023.

(2022) Protective exclusion as a postcolonial strategy: Rethinking deportations and sovereignty in the Gambia, Security Dialogue,  53 (5), pp 475- 493 (with Judith Altrogge).

(2022) The (in)formality of mobility in the ECOWAS region: The paradoxes of free movement, South African Journal of International Affairs, 29 (2), pp. 187-205 (with Kwaku Arhin-Sam, Amanda Bisong, Leonie Jegen and Harouna Mounkaila)

(2022) No hope for the ‘foreigners’: The conflation of refugees and migrants in South Africa, Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies20 (2) pp.253-265 (with Khangelani Moyo).

(2018) Legitimacy in Peacebuilding: Rethinking Civil Society Involvement in Peace Negotiations, Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution; Abingdon: Routledge


Full list of publications (Last updated December 2023)


Selected Public Outreach

(2023)  Tunisia: President's offensive statements targeted black migrants - with widespread fallout, March 2023, The Conversation (with Nermin Abbasi) (available in French)  

(2022) Free movement in West Africa: the culture of mobility still matters despite challenges, August 2022, The Conversation (with Amanda Bisong and Leonie Jegen)

(2022) Plans for offshoring refugee protection undermine human dignity, African political interests, and international norms, February 2022, Migration Control

(2021)  “Nowhere to be found”: Three Decades of UNHCR in South Africa, March 2021, Völkerrechtsblog

(2020) How to improve the migration cooperation between the EU and Africa?, April 2020, MEDAM

(2020) South Africa’s xenophobic agenda is impeding its coronavirus response, April 2020, African Arguments (with Khangelani Moyo)

(2020) The tiny African country making a big case against Myanmar, February 2020, The Lowy Institute (with Antje Missbach)