Rutert, Britta



12/2008 – 09/2013   Research Associate Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Sozial und Kulturanthropologie DFG-Project: ‘Bioprospection in the Africa Renaissance: From Muthi to Intellectual Property Rights’


Fieldwork in South Africa:
01/2009-02/2010 und 11/2011/06/2012 (19 months)



04/1998 – 4/2004:     Master in Social Anthropology/ Education/ Psychology University of Heidelberg

10/1999 – 7/2000:     Studies in Psychology, Erasmus-Scholarship, University of Exeter, UK


Scientific work/positions during studies:

2001 – 2003:           Research Assistant, Dep. of Tropical Hygiene, University of Heidelberg

                             1. Coodination/Planning of the course: ‘Gesundheitsversorgung in Entwicklungsländern’

                             2. ‘Doctoral programme’

01/2003 – 06/2003    Research Assistant, South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg Prof. W. Sax

2001 – 2003:           6 Semester Tutorial (Teaching): ‘Introduction into Anthropology’, ‘Political and Economic Anthropology’, ‘Linguistic Anthropology’

1999                      Research Assistant, Department of Educational Studies, University of Heidelberg


Research Interests

Bioprospecting; traditional healing and knowledge; medicinal plants; science and technology studies; intellectual property rights; legal anthropology


Research Area(s)

South Africa



Journal Articles (peer-reviewed)

2012. ‘Bioprospektion als “Markt der Möglichkeiten”? Von Hoffnung, Handlung und Realität im Post-Apartheid Südafrika’. Curarae Sonderheft, 35 1+2-

Chapters in Edited Books

2013. (with Cochiaro, G.) ‘Traditional Knowledge Common Pools: The Story of the Kukula Traditional Health Practitioners of Bushbuckridge, Kruger to Canyons (K2C) Biosphere Reserve, South Africa’. In: Kamu, C. and Winter, G.(eds.): Common Pools of Genetic Resources: Equity and Innovation in International Biodiversity Law. Routeledge: London and New York.

2013. (with Cochiaro, G. & Maister, B. & Lorenz, J. ) ‘Consideration of a Legal “Trust” Model for the Kukula Healers’ TK Commons in South Africa’. Puplication Open African Innvoation Research (Open AIR). Ausstehend Ende 2013.


2000. ‘Assessment on the Situation of Mother Groups in Kavre District’. Publication for Unicef Health, Kathmandu.

2011. (with Dilger, H. & Matsabisa, M.G.) ‘Bioprospecting in the South Africa: Opportunities and Challenges in the Global Knowledge Economy’. Article for the Working Paper Series of the Centre of Area Studies, Free University Berlin,


Conference Presentations

2010. ‘Bioprospektion in Südafrika: Neue Hoffnungen, alte Probleme?’ Workshop der AG Medical Anthropology, Berlin 18.-20.6.2010.

2010. ‘Bioprospecting in South Africa: New Hopes, old Troubles’. 11th European Association of Social Anthropologists, Biennial Conference Maynooth, Irland, 24.-27. August 2010.

2010. ‘Making Science Public? On Plants, Products and Participation in the African Renaissance’. Workshop at the British Institute of East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, 22-24 September 2010 ‘Public Understanding of Science in Africa’.

2010. ‘Bioprospecting in South Africa: from mere economy to “passionate interest”?’ Contested Ecologies Writing Workshop, University of Cape Town, Department of Anthropology, 13. -15. October 2010.

2010. ‘Politics behind: Bioprospecting in South Africa, New perspectives, old Burdens’. Presentation at AG Medical Anthropology, University of Heidelberg

2010. ‘Is Bioprospecting still “Bio”? Challenges for Bioprospecting in South Africa in the Post-Apartheid Era’. American Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting, 17.- 21. of November 2010, New Orleans

2010. ‘Bioprospecting in South Africa. New hopes, old troubles’. Irmgard Coninx Stiftung Round Table ‘Health Politics in an Interconnected World’, Berlin, 2. – 5. December 2010.

2011. ‘Traditionelle Pflanzenmedizin in Südafrika: Fakten, Facetten, Formen’. 100 Jahre Uzara-Feier, Leipziger Zoo.

2011. „Is there still life left? On the social life of a molecule” 2nd Annual Meeting: Medical Anthropology Young Scholars of EASA, Warschau, 15. -17. June

2012. ‘The Kakula Traditional Health Practitioners Association and its Traditional Knowledge’, (TK) Commons, South Africa. Presentation, Open AIR (African Innovation Research) Interim Workshop, Nairobi 26.-29.2012.

2012. ‘On knowledge and value: biocultural protocols as a means of cultural security in times of (economic) uncertainty’, Presentation: EASA, European Association of Social Anthropologists, Biennial Conference, Paris, 9.-13.9.2012.

2012. ‘Beyond the Limits of Law: Challenges and Opportunities of a Traditional Knowledge Commons for the Intellectual Property Rights Debate In South Africa’, Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting, San Fransisco, USA 12.06.2013.

2013. ‘Engaging encounters: The reconstitution of “traditional healing” in the post-Apartheid South African discourse on “indigenous rights” – a case study’, EASA/AAA Joint Conference, Tarragona, Spain, 12.-14-06.2013.