Dr Marthe Achtnich

marthe achtnich photo


Fellow by Examination in Anthropology, Magdalen College, University of Oxford


Marthe joined Magdalen College as Fellow by Examination in Anthropology in October 2018. She holds a DPhil in Social Anthropology and an MPhil in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford. Marthe was a Wiener-Anspach Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology at the Laboratoire d’anthropologie des mondes contemporains (LAMC) at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium (2017-2018). Her previous work experience includes projects on Science Society Dialogues on Migrant Integration in Europe, Migration and Global Environmental Change for the UK Government Office for Science (Foresight), and work at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva and Malta. 

Research Interests:

Marthe is an anthropologist working on mobility and migration with a focus on unauthorised migration from sub-Saharan Africa via Libya to Europe. Areas of interest include ethnographies of mobility and migration, particularly in situations of ‘crisis’; borders, detention and security; human smuggling, labour and value; health, trauma and lived experiences of migration.

Her doctoral work on migrant journeys was based on multi-sited fieldwork in Libya and Malta, tracing migrants’ mobilities through the Sahara desert, detention centres and smuggling houses in Libya, across the Mediterranean sea by boat to Malta, and onwards through Europe. This was followed up by two shorter projects: (1) examining the afterlives of journeys to generate longitudinal perspectives on mobility (funded by the Society for Libyan Studies, a British academic body and charitable organisation sponsored by the British Academy), and (2) investigating relations between mobility and commodification (supported by a Wiener-Anspach Postdoctoral Fellowship). A monograph, provisionally entitled Mobility in Crisis, and a series of journal articles are in preparation or under review.

Marthe's current research project (Mobility Economies) extends her ethnographic work on unauthorised mobilities to examine how migrants’ journeys and different economies surrounding their mobility shape one another along migrant routes in Niger, Sudan and Libya.

Marthe’s profile at Magdalen College