We conduct research in South East Asia, Oceania, Africa, America and Göttingen in urban and rural contexts. We have been specialising in the major regions of Oceania in the Asia-Pacific region and Africa since the Institute was founded. Today, four professorships and a systematically structured library with about 40,000 volumes are part of our Institute. Our internationally renowned Ethnographic Collection continues to be one of the special features of anthropology in Göttingen.


In the research area 'Materiality and Environment' we work on human-environment relations. Besides research on the effects of political, social and economic inequality and the influence of global developments on local environments, another major field of research at our institute is the materiality of objects and their changing biographies. Here, objects from our Ethnographic Collection in Göttingen are also the focus of research work in which our students are involved.

Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Schareika: This project is designed as a follow-up to the project "Significations of oil and social change in Niger and Chad" (2011-13). It carries the same title and aims at completing, supplementing, and further developing in empirical and theoretical scope the work and results of the first project phase. The project team has proposed to develop a distinctly anthropological perspective on the social transformations that can currently be observed in the newly emerging oil states of Africa. This distinctly anthropological perspective… (mehr...)

Hannah Feder, M.A. Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Elfriede Hermann, Dr. Michael Kraus; Teilprojekt im niedersächsischen Provenienzforschungs-Verbundprojekt PAESE (Hauptantragsteller: Landesmuseum Hannover, Förderung: VolkswagenStiftung). Das Dissertationsprojekt ist als Provenienzforschung angelegt und nimmt die Wirkungsgeschichte von Sammlungsbeständen der Ethnologischen Sammlung Göttingen aus kolonialen Kontexten über die Analyse ihrer Dokumentations-, Nutzungs- und Deutungsgeschichten in den Blick. Universitätssammlungen werden dabei als Orte mit epistemologischer Wirkungsmacht begriffen, die in einem Wechselverhältnis zu ...( mehr...)

(Dr. Marie Luisa Allemeyer (Universität Göttingen), Prof. Dr. Susan Kamel (HTW Berlin), in cooperation mit Dr. Michael Kraus): History of Art, Archaeology, Ethnography – what impact did 18th-century academic collections have on the development of these academic disciplines? What role did the Königlich Academische Museum that was founded in Göttingen in 1773 play for this development? The research project „Sammeln erforschen – Geschichte und wissenschaftliche Aktualisierung der Göttinger Universitätssammlungen im Kontext museumstheoretischer und ethnologischer Diskurse“ („Researching collecting practices. The history and scientific (re)use of Göttingen’s academic colelctions in the context of ethnographic... (mehr...)

Dr. Christina Gabbert: After having established the concept of cultural neighbourhood in the regional perspective of southern Ethiopia, the application of the neighbourhood approach in a national and global context is an appeal to processes which are presently taking place all over the world when looking at the emergence of new global markets and economic policies. The global neighbourhood approach, developed to analyze contact phenomena between hitherto unfamiliar actors, tries to understand the different and often contradictory views and missions of the “global neighbours” such as local communities, policy makers, investors, ...(mehr...)

The research area 'Mobility and Identity' focuses on questions of local-global interdependence and social diversity. Central topics are mobility, migration and diaspora, identification and differentiation, media and digital networks, as well as the aspirations and visions of the future of young people.

Prof. Dr. Elfriede Hermann:This project is studying how the projected consequences of climate change influence the cultural constituting of belonging and the decision to migrate. First, it is being clarified how the inhabitants of islands and coastal areas experience changes occurring in nature, environment, and climate. Second, I ask how belonging is culturally constituted – vis-à-vis different local groups, the home island (or country or nation), and (in the event) transnational communities. Third, I clarify how ... (mehr...)

Prof. Dr. Andrea Lauser: The BMBF-funded joint project between Göttingen University’s Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Museum Friedland, and the exhibition agency "Die Exponauten" contributes to a better understanding of the phenomena of flight and migration by exploring the material dimension of human existence. At the center of enquiry is the thesis that the value of protecting life and human dignity is inextricably linked to things. Things are connected to ascriptions of status and identity, … (mehr...)

Our research in the area of 'Knowledge and Religion' investigates the interrelation of knowledge systems, ontologies, ideologies and religions with social, political, ecological and economic developments.

Prof. Dr. Roman Loimeier: ERC Advanced Grant Forschungsprojekt (Laufzeit: 01.10.2016-30.09.2021) Muslim societies have been impacted since the 19th century by far-reaching processes of social and economic change as well as the development of an array of both Islamist and counter-Islamist movements. The present research project proposes to focus on Muslims whose ideas of piety are characterized by their private and individualistic character: they maintain that their piety is not subject to scrutiny by Islamist movements which value public religion as a means of societal control. Insistence on privacy (and individuality) may appear as rather a-political stance, yet, forms an eminently political position as it challenges claims to hegemony of interpretation of both established religious (and political) authorities as well as the leaders of Islamist movements. The present project... (mehr...)

Dr. Christiane Falck: The research project aims to investigate how religious and ecological change impacts on a Papua New Guinean scoiety whose cosmology is based on an intimate relationship between humans and their environment. In the middle Sepik, the environment has started to change in heretofore unknown ways. Water levels rise and drop irregularly and villagers talk of rising temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and unpredictable weather phenomena. Furthermore, introduced fish species feed on the roots of water-plants and drastically changed the ecology of Lake Chambri. Nature, people say, has started to change. Nature, however, is not that what exists outside of the human realm but that ... (mehr...)

Dr. Julia Koch: The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is a state-owned enterprise (SOE) running (currently, in 2020) four television channels and 18 radio stations with a varying number of fixed contract employees/freelancers. It was originally modeled on the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1936, notwithstanding differences in relating to broadcasting, based on national history, demographic composition and power relations (Rosenthal 1974). When the Afrikaner Nationalist Party came to power in 1947, leading members of the aligned secret society ‘Afrikaner Broederbond’ entered the top management and governed ... (mehr...)

Josefine Wartenberg, M.A.: Josefine Wartenberg ist Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin im Projekt „Tjurungas in der Ethnologischen Sammlung der Georg-August-Universität Göttingen“. Das Projekt wird vom Deutschen Zentrum Kulturgutverluste gefördert. Tjurungas stehen für australische Aborigines in Verbindung mit der mythischen Traumzeit. Sie definieren verwandtschaftliche Zugehörigkeiten und können Landrechte markieren. In der Wissenschaft werden diese Gegenstände als „sensibel“ bzw. als „secret-sacred“ klassifiziert. Es handelt sich um Artefakte ... (mehr...)