New online publication: Before and After Malinowski: Alternative Views on the History of Anthropology [A Virtual Round Table at the Royal Anthropological Institute, London, 7 July 2022]

In 1922, the first edition of Bronislaw Malinowski’s anthropological classic Argonauts of the Western Pacific was published. In the following years, the view became established that Malinowski had invented field research. Almost a hundred years later, Frederico Delgado Rosa and Han Vermeulen invited twelve scholars from ten countries on four continents to examine this assumption, and in 2022 the anthology Ethnographers Before Malinowski: Pioneers of Anthropological Fieldwork 1870-1922 was published. The volume was presented in a virtual roundtable hosted by the Royal Anthropological Institute in London last summer where the following points had been discussed: (1) In the fifty years before the publication of Argonauts of the Western Pacific, a growing number of ethnographers produced hundreds of ethnographic monographs worldwide, but much of their work was sidetracked or neglected by Malinowski and his followers ; (2) Malinowski is still celebrated as the inventor of intensive fieldwork in a single society, despite the fact that he had many predecessors in other societies and continents pursuing the same goal ; and (3) the success of British social anthropology has been partly due to its marginalizing the relative importance of other approaches such as non-functionalist ethnographies, comparative studies and ethnohistory.

The 14 statements from this event, including a contribution by the curator of the Ethnographic Collection of the University of Göttingen, Michael Kraus, are now available as a dossier in the international encyclopaedia of the history of anthropological and ethnological sciences (Berose).


Institutskolloquium // Dr. Fraser Macdonald: „A Thousand Eruptions: The Rise of Charismatic Christianity in Melanesia 1970-1980“

University of Waikato Portrait

Liebe alle,
wir laden euch herzlich zum kommenden Institutskolloquium mit unserem Gastwissenschaftler Dr. Fraser Macdonald (University of Waikato/Aotearoa/Neuseeland). Unter dem Vortragstitel „A Thousand Eruptions: The Rise of Charismatic Christianity in Melanesia 1970-1980“ wird Fraser uns Teile seines neuen Forschungs- bzw. Buchprojekts vorstellen.

Hierzu schreibt er in seinem Abstract: „The decade 1970-1980 saw immense and vital transformations to the religious landscape in Melanesia. Seemingly without warning, countless intense charismatic Christian movements or ‚revivals‘ exploded across the region, enveloping and gripping the minds and bodies of their participants and ushering in an era of truly indigenous worship. This talk explores the reasons why these movements erupted across Melanesia at this particular historical juncture, what kind of work they functioned to perform, as well as how they went about accomplishing this task. Drawing heavily upon the rich conceptual repertoire of Deleuze and Guattari, my approach is to treat these movements as assemblages that substantiate or ‚effectuate‘ a set of abstract forces demanding the rapid expression of metaphysical security, an impulse that has motivated other cognate movements throughout Melanesian colonial history. As assemblages, the movements are also fundamentally concerned with the construction of ontological platforms or ‚territories‘, which they do so, firstly, by establishing stability in the face of looming existential chaos and, secondly, through the decomposition of extant worlds.“

Der Vortrag findet hybrid statt. Einmal könnt ihr im VG3.105 dabei sein oder ihr schaltet euch per Zoom unter dazu. Der Beginn ist wie gewohnt um 16 Uhr c.t.

Guest lecturer Deonis Mgumba

Deonis Mgumba-Iringa (Bild: Michael Kraus)

Within the framework of the Erasmus+ funding line, Deonis Mgumba from our partner university, the University of Iringa, Tanzania, is a guest at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology and the Ethnographic Collection for three weeks.

At his home university Deonis teaches in the degree program Cultural Anthropology and Tourism. At the same time he is curator at the Regional Museum and Cultural Centre Iringa Boma. In Göttingen, Deonis teaches the course „Ethnological Exhibition Practice (with Excursion)“ together with our curator of the Ethnographic Collection, Michael Kraus.

In this context, the course participants also visited the former colonial school in Witzenhausen and the museum there. At the subsequent launch of a provenance research project on objects from East Africa, Deonis Mgumba was among the speakers. A team from Hessischer Rundfunk also took part in the event.

Furthermore, Deonis contributed with his expertise to the project of the elaboration of digital teaching units.

Visit in Witzenhausen (Bild: Michael Kraus)

Institutskolloquium // Dr. Fanny Wonu Veys: „Relationship-building through Oceanic Material Culture“

Dr. Fanny Wonu Veys (Quelle:

Im kommenden Institutskolloquium am 24.11. hören wir den Vortrag von Dr. Fanny Wonu Veys (Nationalmuseum der Kulturen Leiden/Niederlande) mit dem Titel „Relationship-building through Oceanic Material Culture“. Zu ihrem Vortrag führt Dr. Veys aus: „I would like to trace through a number of case studies the politics behind working with Oceanic material culture in a European context. In doing so, issues connected to the return of cultural objects, ways of working with Indigenous people and the respectful display of material culture will be explored with regards to sometimes contested objects.“

Somit wird sich der Vortrag regional zwischen Ozeanien und Europa bewegen sowie sich thematisch insbesondere mit der Museumsethnologie und Material Culture auseinandersetzen. Hierbei finden sich viele Anknüpfungspunkte zu laufenden Projekten des Instituts. Ein gemeinsamer Austausch mit Dr. Fanny Wonu Veys ist sicher für alle Beteiligten ein Gewinn!

Wer einen kleinen Vorgeschmack ihres Vortrags haben möchte, findet unter dem folgendem Link einen kurzen Text zu „Wooden Sculptures from Nukuoro“:

Wir freuen uns auf euer Kommen! Wir treffen uns am 24.11. im VG3.105 um 16 Uhr c.t.!

Pacific Week // 7.-11. November // Rückschau

(v.l.n.r) Te Herekiekie Herewini, Dr Tarisi Vunidilo und Mcmichael Mutock (Foto: E. Hermann)

Am vergangenen Mittwoch (9. November) konnten Ozeanien-Interessierte Tanzbeiträgen und kurzen Vorträgen mit Fragerunde von den Gastwissenschaftler*innen Te Herekiekie Herewini (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa), Dr Tarisi Vunidilo (University of Hawaii-Hilo) und Mcmichael Mutock (Archivar aus Palau) beiwohnen!

(Foto: E. Hermann)

Die Tänze und Lieder brachten einen Hauch Ozeanien in das KWZ, was einige unserer anwesenden Studierenden und Mitarbeitenden durch die Covid-Pandemie schon lange nicht mehr miterleben konnten.

Jedoch war das erklärte Ziel der Veranstaltenden nicht, einfach zwei Stunden mit Musik und Tänzen zu füllen! Es ging viel mehr darum, den Pazifik und insbesondere Ozeanien als ein Gebiet zu verstehen, das voller kultureller Vielfalt ist und eben trotz einer relativ kleinen Bevölkerungsdichte für uns in Deutschland oder die ganze Welt von Bedeutung ist!
Wir als Institut für Ethnologie, welches auch einen Ozeanien-Schwerpunkt aufweist, werden weiterhin versuchen, in den Lehrveranstaltungen einen Teil dazu beizutragen.

(Fotos: E.Hermann; Text: N.Pötzsch)

Launch der „Digital Platform for the Art Treasures from the Kingdom of Benin“

Das MARKK in Hamburg hat eine digitale Plattform eingerichtet, auf der weltweit Objekte aus der 1897 erfolgten Plünderung des Palastes des Königs von Benin durch das britische Militär versammelt sowie zahlreiche Zusatzinformationen bereitgestellt werden.

Zum Projekt:
In October 2020, Museum am Rothenbaum Kulturen und Künste der Welt (MARKK) started an extensive two-year project that brings together the art treasures from the Kingdom of Benin, which were looted in the late 19th century and scattered around the world, on a digital platform and makes them accessible to a broad public:Digital Benin. A generous grant of 1.5 million Euros from the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung is funding the project with offices in Hamburg and Benin City, as well as workplaces in France, Austria, the United Kingdom, and the United States. A fourteen-member international project team, supported by five scientific advisors in Nigeria, Kenya and the USA, set to work contacting collections worldwide, compiling the relevant object data and processing it for the platform. The result: 131 museums and institutions from 20 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and Israel, as well as 14 European countries, collaborated for the documentation of over 5,240 objects. (Weitere Infos:

New publication from the project “Oil and Social Change in Niger and Chad”: Oil-Age Africa

Critical Reflections on Oil Politics, Resource Economies and Extractive Communities

Series: Africa-Europe Group for Interdisciplinary Studies, Volume: 29

Volume Editors: Jannik Schritt und Annika Witte

Following a wave of oil discoveries in Africa, Oil-Age Africa offers new perspectives and critical reflections on the prevalent academic discourses on oil in Africa. This collection brings together researchers from the social sciences to challenge simplified readings of the complex realities of oil politics, economies and societies through theoretical critique and ‘on the ground’ ethnographic methods.

Climate change highlights the need to understand the intricate ways societies are built on and for oil energy. Oil-Age Africa analyses the effects of oil production and the global energy structure, offering relevant insights and avenues for future research on oil.

Learn more.