Theme-centered Semester 2016

Themensemester 2016

Anthropology has long since left behind the academic ivory tower: cultural researchers now work in the Foreign Ministry, Development Policy or for the Bremen public authorities. They become experts in cultural diversity, hold antiracist training seminars and diversity courses. Their skills are sought after in social work involving refugees and migrants; as teachers in adult education colleges (Volkshochschulen), or for organizing events in museums.

The theme-centered semester Public Anthropology brought long-established and new vocational fields into the spotlight. Where do anthropological / cultural research questions pop up in public policy and debates in post-migrant societies? How does anthropological research impact the ways in which state institutions or the culture industry are shaped? Where are cultural researchers urgently needed in today’s society? 

These questions were addressed in seminars held from April to July 2016 in the BA in Cultural Research and MA in Transcultural Studies.

Experts from the world of politics, civil society and other universities were invited to discuss their real-world experience and prospects for the future in a series of workshops.

Interested guests were able to attend all lectures and to contribute to the exchange of ideas involving students, teaching staff and practitioners. Three specific areas became the centre of focus:


  • Critical debates on Ethics and the uses of Public Anthropology:
    How do collaborative research projects with target groups work in practice?
  • The role of anthropologists in contemporary debates on forcedexile, migration and humanitarian action:
    Where and how do they intervene? e.g. in regulatory policy and the field of integration, in certain areas of social work or cooperating with artists
  • Initiatives at disseminating knowledge in ethnographic and cultural history museums:
    How can the participation of widely different social groups be understood - and can these groups be won over as visitors?


Full Progamme


Coordinators: Frank Müller, Cordula Weißköppel, Marie-Helene Wichmann

Student assistants: Julia Schlecht and Merlin Smekal



Workshop I    Ethnological research commissioned by public institutions

Workshop II   New Neighbourhoods in Bremen: Perspectives on urban spaces as social meeting places

Workshop III  Forced exile and borders in southern Europe

Workshop IV  Anthropology meets Social Work

Workshop V   Public Anthropology and the Humanitarian sector: Catastrophes - Knowledge - Interventions - Criticisms

Workshop VI  The Art of Audiovisual Storytelling