skip to content

Blog Series "Debating Anthropology – Streitbare Ethnologie"


The blog series "Debating Anthropology – Streitbare Ethnologie" aims to explore current topics in the field of social and cultural anthropology / ethnology, discussing controversial topics through a wide circle of contributors and asking questions about the public role and social relevance of ethnological knowledge.

Three blogs have been released so far. The first – "Cultural Relativism and Enlightenment" – was published in December 2016 as a reaction to an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, in which ethnology / social and cultural anthropology was accused of justifying inhuman practices and of having a lack of distance from its subject matter.

This blog was superseded in October 2017 by a second blog, which is still running today. Under the title "How to move on with Humboldt’s legacy? Rethinking ethnographic collections“ / Wie weiter mit Humboldts Erbe? Ethnographische Sammlungen neu denken," it deals with the opposite accusation of colonialism and, on the occasion of current discussions about the concept and design of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, also asks about innovative and contemporary approaches to ethnographic collections.

The third blog, which has been running since April 2018, was prompted by the controversy surrounding the recent renaming of the "German Ethnological Society / Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde (DGV) ” to "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie (DGSKA) (the English title of this association had since long been „German Anthropological Association“). Under the title "What's in a name", the blog asks what this renaming stands for, i.e. what it conveys about the history, present and future of this discipline in German speaking countries.

A fourth blog ran from October 2018 to February 2019 concerning the question “Why Anthropology? Current Student Views” (in German only). The editorial work was done by a group of anthropology students at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, who designed the blog as part of a seminar offered by Ehler Voss on the topic of "Publishing in Online Media" and were responsible for supervising it. 

The blog series is jointly published by the Global South Studies Center at Cologne University, the Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften, the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) Media of Cooperation at the University of Siegen and the Department of Anthropology and Cultural Research (IFEK) at the University of Bremen.

Editors: Christoph Antweiler (Bonn), Michi Knecht (Bremen), Ehler Voss (Siegen/Mainz), Martin Zillinger (Cologne)