The Department of Social & Cultural Anthropology


Studies at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology

​​Collaborative Anthropology

In the CollabAnthro pilot project, we are developing programs for international collaborative research for students and offering opportunities for international mobility and exchange.

  • "Research with" instead of "research about" -- students have the opportunity to carry out research together with international peers as part of their BA or MA studies at the institute.
  • With the support of our cooperation partners in Africa, the Americas and Asia as well as various exchange formats - from virtual workshops to an international summer school in Frankfurt - we make it easier for the students involved in the project to have access to international research.
  • Students obtain a separate certificate for participating in this project.

See here for more information.

Prof. Dr. Catherine Whittaker is this year's winner of the sponsorship award of the Scientific Society at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. She will receive the award at the society's annual meeting on Thursday, June 20th

Further information

In May 2024, Prof. Dr. Adjaï Paulin Oloukpona-Yinnon joins the Institute for Ethnology at Goethe University as a visiting research fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Prof. Oloukpona-Yinnon is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at the Université de Lomé, Togo. During his research stay he will be with his host Prof. Dr. Hans Peter Hahn is preparing an article on the topic of North-South scientific cooperation.

In the past, Prof. Oloukpona-Yinnon has researched colonial photography together with Prof. Hahn. Further research was conducted by Prof. Oloukpona-Yinnon on the popularity of colonial in the period before the First World War. In particular, he rediscovered the first performance of a colonial drama in Görlitz. 

His current article “Colonial monuments and relics: A burdensome legacy of German colonialism" is published in the editorial “The Foreign Office and the Colonies. History, memory, heritage", published by C.H.Beck in 2024. The book was presented by the Foreign Office on June 5, 2023. Link to the book.)

Colloquiums for the Winter semester 23/24

Summer Semester 2024

Institute Colloquium (Prof. Göpfert): See Program

The presentations in the colloquium this semester focus largely on humour, but also include topics related to migration, aging, populism, and gender justice.  

Colloquium Americanum (Dr. Lindner): See Program

This colloquium series, held on Thursday afternoon, will showcase research from the department and guest lectures on the wide American continent. 

Or visit our Colloquiums Page

The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology would like to share the report on the “Survey on promoting diversity and discrimination in anthropology studies." The survey was conducted in the summer semester of 2021 by Prof. Whittaker at the Institute of Anthropology
> To the report “Diversity subject?"

In addition, we would like to share the results of the qualitative diversity survey on the study experience at Goethe University with recommendations for a diversity-sensitive design of studies and teaching: “Prove to yourself that you belong there".

Anthropology is devoted to the study of societies worldwide, with a central focus on the human being (anthropos) in her/his cultural environment. In research and teaching, the Department of Social & Cultural Anthropology at Goethe University provides contemporary and historical perspectives on social phenomena as processes and expressions of varied dynamics. Non-European societies have long been a focus of research at the Frankfurt Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology; today, the emphasis has largely shifted to those global interconnections of people that are the result of migration, (neo)colonial and transnational relations, global economies, and the social impact of worldwide processes of profound change.

The department's regional expertise is based on anthropological fieldwork in Africa, Central and South Asia (India), South-East Asia, the Americas, Oceania, as well as the Islamic world. The empirical and comparative research particularly studies the close interconnections – but also the lines of demarcation – between religion, kinship, economy, politics and law, culinary culture, material culture and museums, and migration. Another field of research is the history of the discipline.

News and Activities

CollabAnthro Summer School in Frankfurt (11 – 15 July 2024)

Exciting lectures, practice-oriented workshops, intensive discussion rounds.

Participants in the CollabAnthro Program:
Our Summer School starts on July 11, 2024. Over the following three days, students will work in their research groups to develop their fieldwork and research designs. Our time together is rounded off with informal get-togethers during the evenings. Consecutively, students will participate in a two-day workshop offered by the trainers of the Safer Fieldwork Project.

Open to the public:
Check the program below for events that are open to guests and visitors not participating in the CollabAnthro Program.

Download the Summer School Program in English or French.

Prof. Diawara is new Director MIASA in Ghana

In January 2024, Prof Mamadou Diawara was appointed “Director Germany" of the “Maria Sibylla Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa" (MIASA) at the University of Ghana in Legon, Accra. Together with Dr Grace Diabah, “Director Ghana", he will form the dual leadership of MIASA until the end of 2025. 

The aim of MIASA is to increase the global visibility of research in the humanities, social sciences and cultural studies by scientists from sub-Saharan Africa. The main research topic is "Sustainable Governance". MIASA in Accra is one of five Merian Centres worldwide and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 

Further information on MIASA can be found here.

Prof Mamadou Diawara (3rd from right) and the MIASA team at the University of Ghana

Photo credit: MIASA

West Sahara Conference

Western Sahara - Settler Colonialism and Resistance 
Research approaches in German-speaking countries

February 26 - 27, 2024, Goethe University Frankfurt

Students and researchers of all status groups with a focus on the Western Sahara, the Western Sahara conflict or settler colonialism are cordially invited to present their ongoing work and the results of completed research projects as part of the two-day conference. The event serves to improve networking and enables an intensive interdisciplinary exchange about the consequences of settler colonialism and forms of resistance using the example of Western Sahara.

See here.the full program


Visit and Lecture Series with Anna Tsing

In December, the influential anthropologist Anna Tsing visited the department. Tsing gave a lecture series,  as part of the Dagmar Westberg Lectures 2023: "Waterlands: Political Geomorphologies at a Muddy Edge." Tsing also met with students, research teams, and visited cultural sites in Frankfurt.  

  • Here is Tsing's video commentary on the current exhibition of the Frankfurter
  • Here is Tsing's interview with The Zeit during the stay.