Studying at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology

  • © Diana Geipel

    The Discipline

    Social Anthropology (German: Ethnologie) is the science of cultural identities and differences. It aims to observe, analyse and interpret domains of social action that reflect such cultural characteristics in a theoretically grounded and methodically consistent manner. The comparison of societies therefore provides the basic theoretical perspective and informs the analytical and methodological approaches. Social anthropological knowledge and competence enable one to interact in these domains of action in a scientifically valid, socially relevant and ethically responsible manner.

    Social anthropological knowledge is produced by means of researches of Asian, African, Amerindian and native-Australian societies in both their rural and urban settings, and of their interactions with the Western world. Such researches focus on the contemporary configurations of the particular social, religious, political, economic and artistic phenomena, which identify each of these societies, and of their transformations in the context of transnational interactions in the past and the present. For the comparative analysis of such configurations Social Anthropology employs social science theories and cooperates with other disciplines from the Social Sciences and Humanities.


  • Studying at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology

    The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology offers the following course programmes:

    1. Bachelor in Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie
    2. Master in Social Anthropology (Ethnologie)

    Writing a PhD thesis within the institute is possible.

  • Aim of Study

    Social anthropological expertise is applied in the fields of academic teaching and research, in the public administration at communal, regional, national and international levels, in the design and implementation of development and aid programs by governmental and non-governmental organisations, in museums, the media and cultural management.

  • Emphasis of the Department

    At the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology the teaching staff provides a wide theoretical and topical spectrum. Among general theories and methods, seminars with regional emphases are available. Focus areas of research and teaching are Africa and South Asia. There are also seminars about other regions.