SOCIAL & CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY IN GÖTTINGEN
‘How do we relate to, make sense of, and organize the world differently and what do we have in common?’, are the big questions anthropologists ask. They study socio-political forms of organization, economic strategies, constructions of identity, religious and ideological imaginations and values in different socio-cultural settings. But their subject matter really is as diverse as is humankind. What all anthropologists have in common, though, is an interest for the ‘cultural other’. However, perceptions of ‘other’ and ‘self’ are interdependent. A condition for anthropological research is an awareness of own cultural constructions and how they impact on our perception of the world. It is impossible to study the ‘other’ without studying the ‘self’.
Anthropologists employ long-term ethnographic fieldwork to collect data. Their central research method is called ‘participant observation’; anthropologists do not only observe but also take part in people’s daily life aiming to gain a deeper understanding of a society by living and actively participating in it. However, with our world becoming increasingly interconnected, the research methods of anthropologists have changed. Today, some anthropologists follow their interlocutors to multiple sites where their lives unfold, others employ new technologies to collect information. In our globalized world, anthropologists do not only conduct fieldwork in faraway places but also ‘at home’. What has not changed, is anthropology’s attempt to understand different lifeworlds from an insider’s perspective and its aim to contribute to a better understanding of human lives around the world.
In our study program, we aim to not only convey theoretical insights, but also practical skills to our students. Therefore, introductory lectures on elementary theories and methods of anthropology, based on examples and case studies from different world regions and areas of focus, are complemented with practical trainings and research exercises during which our students acquire applied knowledge in their field of interest (STUDIES...).
We conduct research in Oceania, Africa, Southeast-Asia and Göttingen. Our research findings complement our teaching. With that we offer our students to gain knowledge of different cultural contexts and practice the comparative perspective so characteristic for anthropology actively during their time of study. Our research interests can be categorized as 'Materiality and Environment', 'Mobility and Identity', and 'Religion and Knowledge'. They reflect the diversity that makes anthropological work so interesting and mirrors the diversity of human lifeworlds (RESEARCH...).
Our institute cooperates with universities and institutes around the world (e.g. Benin, Fiji, Indonesia, Philippines, Tanzania, Thailand). In doing so, we offer our students not only the opportunity to gain valuable experiences abroad and strengthen their intercultural expertise, but also to learn from lecturers and students of our partner universities (INTERNATIONAL...).
A distinctive characteristic of Anthropology in Göttingen is our Ethnographic Collection. We look after beautiful objects that are famous in the world. The research oriented education of our students is, i.a., guaranteed for via the integration of our students in research on and with the objects in our collection (ETHNOGRAPHIC COLLECTION...).