Summer 2024 | Online Lecture Series “Decolonizing Anthropology: A Self-Critical Assessment of the Current State of Research and Teaching” | Part 2


Thursdays, 6.15 – 7.45 pm on Webex

Please register here

Decolonizing Anthropology is a joint lecture series of anthropology institutes in German-speaking countries that serves as a platform for exchange on current debates on decolonisation, that proactively reflects on the history of critique in the discipline, and shares knowledge about new practices of research and interpretation that can provide pathways for the future. The lecture series started in October 2023 and will continue until July 2024.

In the spirit of exchange and collective learning, the focus of the first semester was on exploring the state of the art in different institutes. Together we learned about the way colonial perspectives are baked into institutions, listened to the critiques of particular approaches to research and thinking, and heard about what it would take to decolonize the discipline and to develop new methods of more open collegial exchange.

The second semester takes a more systematic approach and presents talks by scholars at the forefront of the decolonializing debate who will speak about the new approaches that emerge from the self-critical engagement with problematic practices. Specifically, after an introductory session, the first theme will take a fresh look at anthropology’s disciplinary history to reflect on the positive and negative lessons to be learned from the past. What key issues do we need to be aware of as they continue to affect the discipline, and what are useful early forms of critique to help us move forward and avoid prevalent traps? A second set of sessions will focus on different regions and, using concrete examples from current research activities, presenters will explain methods they are developing to foster more democratic exchanges and create inclusive knowledge worlds. A third set of sessions will look at the theoretical underpinnings, questioning the foundational epistemologies that lie at the core of the discipline. How have these evolved over time, and what would it take to decolonize not only our approaches and methods, but also the conceptual apparatus that organises our discipline? This debate will inevitably confront us with the possible limits of decolonisation. How do we understand them and where do we see them? What does a future look like that preserves the awareness that we cannot undo the past and that acknowledges the lingering presence of its shadow? Finally, we return to the question of discipline and ask how thinking anthropology in the plural might open up new spaces for institutional development and continuous learning.


1. Session | 11.04.24 |

Einführung: Überblick über das Sommersemester und einige Preliminary Remarks zur derzeitigen Konjunktur der Kritik an “Post-/De-colonial Studies” (Michi Knecht für das Orga-Team)


2. Session | 18.04.24 | Richard Kuba & Katja Geisenhainer (Frobenius Institut, Frankfurt am Main), Kommentar: Andre Gingrich (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften)

„Wir eingebildeten Europäer“ – Debatten, Verstrickungen und das Erbe der Ethnologie des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts


3. Session | 25.04.24 | Michaela Schäuble (Universität Bern) & Zainabu Jallo (Universität Basel)

Decolonizing and/or Re-Appropriating the Archive


4. Session | 02.05.24 | Ricardo F. Macip (Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico), Host: Dorothy Zinn, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

Decolonizing What Was Known as Mexican Anthropology


No Session on the 09.05.24 (Himmelfahrt)


5. Session | 16.05.24 | Otto Habeck (Universität Hamburg)

Eight Answers to the Question if Ethnographic Research in Asian Russia Has Fared Well or Got Shipwrecked With Colonial/Decolonial Ambitions (1724-2024)


6. Session | 23.05.24 | Souleymane Bachir Diagne in Dialogue (Columbia University Universität Bremen) in Dialogue with Tyler Zoanni (Universität Bremen)

Possibilities and Limits of a Decolonized Anthropology from the Perspective of African Philosophy


No Session on the 30.05.24 (Fronleichnam)


7. Session | 06.06.24 | Léa Lacan (Universität zu Köln), Denisha Anand (University of the Western Cape), Moderation by: Mihir Sharma (Universität Bayreuth)

Decolonizing Ecologies


8. Session | 13.06.24 | Benjamin Baumann (Universität Heidelberg), Philipp Zehmisch (Universität Heidelberg) & Visisya Pinthongvijayakul (Chandrakasem Rajabhat University/Universität Heidelberg)

The Epistemological Decolonization of Anthropology – A Conversation between a “Home Scholar” and a “Foreign Anthropologist” about Possession and Mediumship


9. Session | 20.06.24 | George Steinmetz (University of Michigan)

(Author of: The Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought, 2023): TBA


10. Session | 27.06.24 | Serawit B. Debele (Universität Bayreuth), Stephanie Lämmert (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin) & Yusuf K. Serunkuma (Martin Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg)

Rethinking Knowledge Production in German African Studies


11. Session | 04.07.24 | Rosalind Morris (Columbia University – Leuphana Universität Lüneburg)

Other Anthropologies and Anthropology’s Otherness: A Conversation on Disciplinary Futures


12. Session | 11.07.24 | Shalini Randeria (Central European University, Wien)