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Newsarchiv: Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology

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Jahr 2022

The Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Long Night of the Sciences

Staff and students from the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology invite you to three events as part of the Long Night of the Sciences on 1 July. First, Anna-Lena Wolf invites you to an ordinary working day on an Indian tea plantation   . Second, Felix Schiedlowski and Amy Walker (Human Geography) will present findings from their research on the end of lignite mining in Eastern Germany   . Finally, our MA students Philipp Baum and Anastasia Klaar will deliver results from seminar research on toxicity in Saxony-Anhalt   . The lectures will be held in German.

War in Ukraine

The Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology condemns Wladimir Putin’s war against the Ukrainian people and territory. We watch the dramatic events unfolding in Ukraine with dismay. The institute supports the “EASA Statement on the Russian war against Ukraine”   . We try to offer support as best as possible for those affected by war. Information for refugees and those who want to provide support in the city of Halle can be found here   . The university has supplied information here and here. The German Anthropological Association has issued information for Ukrainian scientists here   . Inquiries to the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology can be addressed to

ETROD: Artisanal gold mining in Tanzania - Filmic and ethnographic explorations of hope and uncertainty

Join for another event of the Extractivism and Transition Research Online Dialogues: Anna Frohn Pedersen will provide insights into her  research on artisanal gold mining in Tanzania. In her PhD project Anna  conducted ethnographic research in a mining village in the northern part  of Tanzania. In an attempt to find adequate forms of representing the  miners’ (self)understanding of their work and lives, Anna engaged in  participatory film-making in addition to her research papers. In this  session we are going to discuss two different outputs from her research:  a film and a research paper that both deal with the risks, challenges  and uncertainty that are embedded in mining but also the hopes and  dreams it invokes. Please find the film here   , password: Nyarugusu2019.

To sign up for the event, please sent a mail to

Gastvortrag von Paolo Gruppuso am 28.06.2022 (in Präsenz und Online)

Paolo Gruppuso (Rachel Carson Center, LMU München) wird am 28 Juni 2022, 16:15 – 17:45 Uhr einen Gastvortrag zum Thema “The Invention of Wetlands: Reclamation, Conservation, and Future Sustainability” am Seminar für Ethnologie halten. Die Veranstaltung findet in Präsenz im Seminarraum (Reichardtstr. 11, 06114 Halle) sowie online hier. (Passwort: Wetlands-22) statt. Weitere Informationen zur Veranstaltung finden Sie im untenstehenden Dokument.

Guest Lecture by Dr Andrew Gilbert

On Thursday, June 23, Dr Andrew Gilbert    (Toronto / Bremen) will be a guest at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology. Gilbert will give a presentation as part of the seminar "SOUND WORK(S). Ethnographic Perspectives on Music/Sound and Work" by Prof Asta Vonderau. In his presentation "How do We Work Together? Insights into Multimodal Ethnography" he will explore the possibilities of multimodal research in anthropology. The lecture will take place on June 23, starting at 10.15 am at Raum 101, MMZ (Mitteldeutsches Medienzentrum, Mansfelder Straße 56). Everyone is welcome to attend!

International Conference "After Law: Mobilization, Injustice, and Confrontation in the Post-Juristocratic Transition" (6-10 June 2022, Université de Lausanne)

On 6-10 June, Olaf Zenker and Mark Goodale (Université de Lausanne) will host an international conference entitled “After Law: Mobilization, Injustice, and Confrontation in the Post-Juristocratic Transition”. This workshop will take place at the "LACS - Laboratoire d'Anthropolgie Culturelle et Sociale" in Lausanne (Switzerland). After the end of the Cold War, the world experienced an impressive rise of law - especially in the form of liberal constitutionism and a strengthened judicial review - towards a "juristocracy" (Hirschl 2004). However, the last few years have seen a counter-movement increasingly shifting away from the rule of law and towards much more ambiguous forms of self-determination, mobilization and resistance. Are we at the beginning of a "post-juristocratic transition" - and if so, what are its consequences? These questions are at the heart of this interdisciplinary conference.

Further information on the programme can be found in the document below.

Retirement of Prof. Dr. Burkhard Schnepel

After 20 eventful years at Martin Luther University, Prof. Dr. Burkhard Schnepel recently retired with the end of the winter semester 2021/22. As a founding member of the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology since 2002, he was crucial in establishing Social and Cultural Anthropology at Martin Luther University and in making Halle one of the centres of the discipline beyond Germany. His work was not limited to the Institute, however, as he made a significant contribution to anchoring the discipline at MLU by assuming numerous leading positions. Burkhard Schnepel was Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy I (2010-14), Director of the Oriental Studies Centre (from 2007), co-initiator and founding director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Regional Studies (from 2009), board member of the graduate school "Asia and Africa", and member of the Senate (2014-18). In addition to his institutional commitment, Burkhard Schnepel also led numerous third-party funded projects on research in South Asia and the Indian Ocean, which were supported by the German Research Foundation, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Volkswagen Foundation, and the Max Planck Society, among others. His research interests include topics such as sacred kingship, theories of ritual and performance, personhood, and cultural heritage. He has also made important contributions to the anthropology of the night and of tourism. The main focus of his research in Halle, however, consisted in ethnohistorical studies, with his research initially focussing on Orissa, India, subsequently including Mauritius, and finally extending to the Indian Ocean. Burkhard Schnepel established Halle as the most important German location for Indian Ocean Studies with international appeal. With his Max Planck Fellow Group "Connectivity in Motion: Port Cities of the Indian Ocean", the organisation of several international and interdisciplinary conferences and summer schools, the cooperation with Utkal University in Orissa, the University of Mauritius, McGill University in Canada and New York University Shanghai, as well as numerous relevant publications on the Indian Ocean, Burkhard Schnepel has contributed significantly to the reputation of Martin Luther University. We would like to express our sincere thanks for his significant commitment to the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and to the social sciences and humanities as a whole, and wish him all the best for his well-deserved retirement.

Anton Wilhelm Amo Lecture 2022 on 22th June (in attendance and online)

This year`s Anton Wilhelm Amo Lecture 2022 by Prod. Dr. Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni (Chair in Epistemologies of the Global South, University of Bayreuth) entitled "Genealogies of Decolonization and Tasks of Decoloniality in the 21st Century" will take place on Wednesday, June 22 at 6:15 p.m. in the lecture hall IV (Ludwig-Wucherer-Str. 2, 06108 Halle-Saale). It will also be streamed live at: BIT.LY/AMO-2022 (password: amo-Lecture22). For more information about the event, see the document below.

Just published: The Oxford Handbook of Law and Anthropology

The Oxford Handbook of Law and Anthropology - co-edited by Olaf Zenker with Marie-Claire Foblets (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology), Mark Goodale (University of Lausanne) and Maria Sapignoli (University of Milan) - was recently published. This collection of 49 chapters plus Introduction provides an original and internationally framed conception of the historical, theoretical, and ethnographic interconnections of law and anthropology. Each of the essays in the Handbook provides a survey of the current state of scholarly debate and an argument about the future direction of research in this dynamic and interdisciplinary field. The structure of the Handbook is animated by an overarching collective narrative about how law and anthropology have and should relate to each other as intersecting domains of inquiry that address such fundamental questions as dispute resolution, normative ordering, social organization, and legal, political, and social identity.

You can find out more here about the print edition    as well as the online version    of this Handbook.

Before the Law - Affective Dynamics in the Digital Transformation of German Immigration Management: An Episode from the Podcast “More than a Feeling - Feelings and Society”

What feelings are at play when a complex, multi-layered and highly politicised process such as immigration to Germany is administered - also and especially on the part of those entrusted with the bureaucratic work? Questions of power and powerlessness are crucial here, as are concerns about the (non-)legality of procedures. Feelings of coldness and harshness, of injustice on both sides, among immigrants and public administrators, as well as bureaucratic sentiments more generally constitute the contested field from which Olaf Zenker and Larissa Vetters (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology) report with regard to their research project "Sentiments of Bureaucracies: Affective Dynamics in the Digital Transformation of German Immigration Management" at the Collaborative Research Centre 1171 "Affective Societies".

You can learn more here    about the project, its challenges under pandemic working conditions and what happens to the digitisers when they are digitised.

ETROD: Sandro Mezzadra, “Excavating contemporary capitalism“

ETROD welcomes Sandro Mezzadra (Bologna) to discuss "Excavating contemporary capitalism". If you would like to join this ETROD sessions (at 4pm CEST) please drop a mail to to receive the Zoom link and text. Once registered, you will automatically receive the invitations, links and readings to all upcoming sessions until further notice.

Guest lecture on “Landscape as a framework for research of mythical space” by Dr. Tibor Komar

In this lecture Dr. Tibor Komar will present some results from the project Sacral Interpretation of Landscape which was initially conceived as an interdisciplinary research and evaluation of traces of pre-Christian beliefs that can be found in Croatian toponomastics, topography and oral tradition. Historically, Slavs/Croats, having come on today`s territory, brought along a mythical worldview and tailored it to fit the new landscape. After conversion to Christianity, places where once pagan gods were worshipped were replaced by Christian Saints – the old spirituality and worldview have been adapted to the new situation, some old beliefs and practices have disappeared, some were adapted, and some were preserved to this day. Generally speaking, today we can acquire new findings about the old Slavic religion and mythology from several types of sources - Slavic and Indo-European comparative linguistics (written sources), archaeology (archaeological sources), history (written sources) and ethnology (oral tradition sources). While seeking for traces of ancient Croatian mythology and partially reconstructing the contents of the ancient Slavic religious system by comparing individual Slavic traditions, an attempt was made to place them in the wider Indo-European context. The importance of research was also emphasized through an interdisciplinary analysis of the concept of mythological heritage in the interaction of language material and oral tradition in the process of formation of the Croatian cultural identity. Another aim of this project was to discover a way in which the settled Slavs/Croats physically incorporated their own worldview brought along from their ancient homeland into the newly occupied territory. Inquiries were made to find specific ways in which they named certain points in the landscape (peaks, rivers, rocks, sources, etc.), which made it possible to, at least to some extent, read into the sacral and juridical process of settling a new homeland.

Speaker: Dr. Tibor Komar, Associate Professor at the Department  of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Zagreb

Date: 19 April 2022

Time: 4-6 pm

Location: Seminar room at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Reichardtstraße 11, 06114 Halle (Saale)

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