The Chair of European Ethnology/Volkskunde is part of the Institute of German Philology, which in turn is part of the Faculty of Philosophy (Historical, Philological, Cultural and Geographical Sciences) at the University of Würzburg.
A new focus at the Würzburg location since 2017 is "Multispecies Studies" or "Anthropology beyond the Human". With this perspective, the interconnectedness of humans and other life forms is increasingly moving into the fields of work of cultural scientists. The relationships between different species (humans, animals, microbes, plants) come into focus, which goes beyond an anthropocentric view. In this context, the central question of the humanities is being posed anew: how do we want to live (together)?
In addition to this new focus, the Chair continues to pursue already established focal points in teaching and research: topics relating to the multiplicity of historical and contemporary lifeworlds in time and space are also currently being researched. The place in which the chair is located was and remains central; specifically Würzburg, Lower Franconia, Franconia with its manifold associations to the world. The interest in the everyday life of the many and the marginalised is also essential. In addition, the chair is linked to questions of (past) beliefs, religiosity and spirituality as well as to the extremely successful research into narrative culture in Würzburg.
In addition to teaching and research, the chair also has its own journal: In the "Alltag - Kultur - Wissenschaft. Beiträge zur Europäischen Ethnologie" (Everyday Life - Culture - Science. Contributions to European Ethnology), various essays are published annually by colleagues who have been invited to Würzburg to give lectures. Current research results from projects by young researchers and students can be read in the series "Würzburger Studien zur Europäischen Ethnologie", which is published twice a year.
The Würzburg Chair is characterised by the fact that it reflects the wide range of folkloristic and cultural studies fields of work through a broad-based team. The courses offered are shaped by the research areas of the respective lecturers and thus offer students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge in many different areas. The individual focal points of the lecturers can be found on the homepage of the department and the respective course catalogue offers an insight into the exciting and diverse range of courses offered by European Ethnology in Würzburg.
In addition to methodological and theoretical courses, the Würzburg chair also offers practice-based teaching: Here, weblogs are developed, interviews are conducted, independent ethnographic research is carried out, exhibitions are conceived and realised and the use of different sources such as film or photo camera . If you want to meet professors outside the less interactive format of a lecture, you are invited to attend the event "Pizza with the Prof": Over a slice of pizza, students have the opportunity to discuss different disciplines with (international) professors and gain an insight into their current research projects. In addition, so-called "open lectures" take place from time to time within the framework of the main lecture. Here, guests from different disciplines present their research, to which not only the lecture audience but also other interested parties are cordially invited.
European Ethnology explores present and past human everyday cultures in all their dimensions.
The Chair for European Ethnology at the University of Würzburg focuses on the following research areas:
- Anthropology of spaces
- Narrative cultures
- Relations between humans and environments/Multispecies Ethnography
- Historical Cultural Analysis
- Religion and Spirituality
- Anthropology of knowledge
- Popular Cultures
- Media Cultures
European Ethnology can be studied in Würzburg as a Bachelor’s programme and a Master’s programme.
Modules of the Bachelor’s programme European Ethnology:
Further information on the Bachelor’s programme can be found here
Modules of the Master’s programme European Ethnology:
Further information on the Master’s programme can be found here
For all further information please feel free to contact [Krister Steffens M.A., Erasmus Coordinator for European Ethnology at Würzburg University]
European Ethnology (EEVK) is a cultural science that examines the ways of life and living environments in Europe. It emerged from folklore studies. EEVK examines many different phenomena of everyday culture in a contemporary and historical perspective. Both perspectives serve to analyse and interpret cultural orders and dynamics of modern societies. Along with "everyday life", "culture" is one of the guiding perspectives of the subject. Because culture is dynamic, the term does not refer to "unchanging" traditions or values, nor does it mean the lifestyle of the socially privileged. Rather, the term culture refers to the dynamic, constantly changing forms of expression in which reality is lived. Culture describes the permanent process in which society is negotiated on a daily basis. Thus, culture is primarily about how individuals perceive the world in which they live, how they communicate and how they act. This broad understanding of culture 'makes the everyday world appear as the concrete place and time in which culture is "lived" and observed at the same time' 1 . The focus of the subject is thus on the concrete everyday life of people, also in connection with other living beings (animals, plants or microbes) and the environment in which they live.
1 Kaschuba, Wolfgang: Einführung in die Europäische Ethnologie. München 2006 , S. 115. (original: „lässt die Alltagswelt als den jeweils konkreten Ort und die konkrete Zeit erscheinen, in denen Kultur „gelebt“ und zugleich beobachtet wird")
European ethnologists want to understand how indiviuduals shape culture (material and immaterial). They want to know how socially influential things come about and critically question the familiar. The research methods of the subject are qualitative and ethnographic, in order to get as close as possible to the lifeworld of the respective individuals. This gives rise to diverse and different questions. At the chair in Würzburg, for example, research and teaching are currently investigating what the cultural practices surrounding the "selfie" involve, why "the return of the wolves" is making headlines or why so many people are demonstrating for or against refugees in Germany. As European ethnologists, we find the answers to these questions where human practices take place: On the trail of cultural actions around the selfie, we end up, for example, in front of the Würzburg Residenz, on Instagram or with material-technical objects such as selfie sticks or instant cameras. Questions about the return of wolves leads us to shepherds and sheep, hunters, cultural landscapes and nature-conservation associations or children's books, daily newspapers, legal texts or historical documents as a resource. The discourse around the so-called "refugee crisis", for example opens up questions about identity and homeland, inclusion and exclusion, and leads to current election programmes, the #metwo debate, state parliaments, shelters for refugees, demonstrations and historical discourses around racism, radicalisation or colonialism, which often take us far back into the past.
In order to analyse present and past everyday life, European ethnologists work and research directly where cultural and social negotiations take place. Which places and situations of everyday life - i.e. where in space and time - are selected for this purpose almost always depends on individual questions and access to a specific source situation. . In most cases, European ethnologists choose manageable areas of observation of everyday life - in the hope of then being as close as possible to observe, describe and analyse precisely. Herein lies a perspective based on the idea that 'even in a small section of society, the modes of functioning and principles of action of "the whole" of culture can be found'2
2 Kaschuba, Wolfgang: Einführung in die Europäische Ethnologie. München 2006 , S. 115. (original: „daß auch in einem kleinen gesellschaftlichen Ausschnitt die Funktionsweisen und Wirkungsprinzipien „des Ganzen“ der Kultur aufzufinden sind")
In order to find out how the everyday lives that are so central to European ethnologists are shaped in concrete terms, we often work ethnographically. Among other things, this means directly participating in the lives of researched individuals. The basic idea behind this approach is that it is only possible to understand why people think, talk and act in a certain way if you are there yourself and participate. The "laboratory" of European ethnologists is the everyday life of people. This so-called "participant observation" is one of the fundamental methods of the discipline, even if it is not always suitable for all questions. For this reason, European ethnologists almost always use other methods or a mix of different methods and analytical procedures (such as media, image and text analyses, source and archive research, discourse analysis, different interview techniques, material culture analysis, narrative and spatial research etc.).
As in many other sciences, reading research and source literature takes up a large part of university studies and research. Before researchers attempt to learn about the everyday lifes of individuals they need to know the relevant research literature on the phenomena they are investigating and must be familiar with the relevant research literature on the phenomena they are studying and acquire knowledge of the social and political context. This can also include learning a new language, a new "speak" (IT workers use a different language than educators or chat forum users) or a particular dialect. The research results that European ethnologists produce can also never be representative because of these qualitative approaches:
'Ethnographic research is therefore also not representative - it is not about producing statistics or interviewing the largest possible number of people. Instead, European ethnology tries to give answers that are drawn from a comprehensive knowledge of the field. While large numbers are not examined, small groups are studied very closely. Ethnologists want to understand and interpret their object of study, not list it '3
3 Römhild, Regina: Wie arbeiten Europäische Ethnologinnen und Ethnologen, wenn sie forschen? In: euriethno.hu-berlin.de. URL: https://www.euroethno.hu-berlin.de/de/institut/fach/fragen-antworten (19.12.2018). (original: „Ethnographische Forschung ist daher auch nicht repräsentativ – es geht nicht darum, Statistiken herzustellen oder eine möglichst große Anzahl an Menschen zu befragen. Stattdessen versucht die Europäische Ethnologie Antworten zu geben, die aus einer umfassenden Kenntnis des Feldes gespeist sind. Es werden zwar keine großen Zahlen untersucht, dafür aber kleine Gruppen sehr genau. Ethnologinnen und Ethnologen wollen ihren Untersuchungsgegenstand verstehen und interpretieren, nicht auflisten“)
European Ethnology provides its students with tools and perspectives for practically tracing the present and past everyday lives of people, their relationships to each other and to the living beings and things associated with them. During their studies, students learn to analyse complex life worlds, ask about everyday phenomena and contexts, and learn to question "common sense" assumptions. Specifically, students learn how to use different analytical techniques and cultural studies theories in order to be able to interpret the contents and structures of historical and contemporary everyday life on the basis of concrete examples. In a variety of courses, students learn a wide-range of methods and theories to enable a subject-related application. A range of seminars offer the opportunity to apply what they have learned in concrete terms and, for example, to conduct empirical research, work with (historical) sources or media analyses in small field studies. At the same time, students learn the basics of independent academic work to include the ability to make judgements and solve problems, as well as the ability to research, condense, structure and communicate information. Via excursions and projects embedded in the seminars, students gain practical experience and acquire skills, for example, in photography, the development of different scientific and popular text forms, the conception and implementation of exhibitions or the creation of an e-learning platform. The basic "tools of the trade", such as the evaluation of scientific literature and the writing of scientific texts, are developed in tutorials during the first semester.
The study of European Ethnology is not exclusively tailored to specific professions, but provides qualifications that can be applied in many different fields. European ethnologists are active in diverse fields and their career prospects continue to be positive in comparison to other subjects in the social sciences and humanities. In addition to subject-related fields of work such as museums and exhibitions, media, (intercultural) cultural mediation and administration, educational work, archives and activities in the academic world, employment opportunities are increasing in what were until recently atypical fields of work such as business or management consultancy. It is precisely because of the skills acquired in qualitative ethnographic research, a broad knowledge of the complexity of contemporary lifeworlds and a historical and critical perspective on the coexistence of people that many graduates find positions in diversity management, equality, politics, consulting, as ambassadors, in journalism, as representatives for refugees, in the preservation of historical monuments or local history, with NGOs and foundations, in research, design or in the leisure and tourism industry.
In order to answer questions about the student's future opportunities in the world of work, European ethnologists from different professional fields answer questions from students in a seminar entitled "Professional Practice". They recount their very personal paths into the world of work, talk about the application process and their everyday professional lives and discuss how and why their studies in European Ethnology have helped them to develop their current professions.
In order to gain concrete insights into European-ethnological professional practice, the Chair arrangea internships in different professional fields. Excursions, practical seminars and guest lectures enable students to build up a network of different institutions, practical experts and cooperation partners and to make important and exciting contacts for their professional future
Bendix, Regina F./Hasan-Rokem, Galit (Eds.): A Companion to Folklore. Malden/Oxford 2012.
Bischoff, Christine/Oehme-Jüngling, Karolin/Leimgruber, Wolfgang (Hg.): Methoden der Kulturanthropologie. Bern 2014.
Brednich, Rolf W. (Hg.): Grundriß der Volkskunde. Einführung in die Forschungsfelder der Europäischen Ethnologie. Berlin 32001.
Ehn, Billy/Löfgren, Orvar/Wilk, Richard: Exploring Everyday Life. Strategies for Ethnography and Cultural Analysis. Lanham u. a. 2016.
Göttsch, Silke/Lehmann, Albrecht (Hg.): Methoden der Volkskunde. Positionen, Quellen, Arbeitsweisen der Europäischen Ethnologie. Berlin 22007.
Hess, Sabine/Moser, Johannes/Schwertl, Maria (Hg.): Europäisch-ethnologisch Forschen. Neue Methoden und Konzepte. Berlin 2013.
Kaschuba, Wolfgang: Einführung in die Europäische Ethnologie. München 42012.
Kockel, Ullrich/Nic Craith, Máiréad/Frykman, Jonas (Eds.): A Companion to the Anthropology of Europe. Chichester 2012.
Schriewer, Klaus/Sanchéz, Salvador Cayuele (Eds.): Anthropological Perspectives. Tools for the Analysis of European Societies./ Perspectivas anthropológicas. Herramientas para el análisis de as sociedades europeas. Murcia 2014.
Warneken, Bernd Jürgen: Die Ethnographie popularer Kulturen. Eine Einführung. Wien/Köln/Weimar 2006.
Weber-Kellermann, Ingeborg/Bimmer, Andreas C./Becker, Siegfried: Einführung in die Volkskunde/Europäische Ethnologie. Eine Wissenschaftsgeschichte. Stuttgart/Weimar 32003.
In the Bachelor degree programe in European Ethnology/Folk Studies, you will acquire skills in scientific work with various sources such as documents, photos, films and objects, in the application of qualitative research methods, the implementation of research projects, in writing scientific texts and other forms of presentation of research results. You will learn to critically question social and cultural phenomena, to think interculturally and to delve beneath the surface of what is seemingly obvious and taken for granted.
In addition, excursions, an empirical research project and participation in exhibition projects with external cooperation partners guarantee an interdisciplinary, professionally and practically oriented academic education. The examination regulations and module handbooks provide information on the specific structure and procedure of the degree programme, and the respective course catalogue offers an insight into the exciting and diverse range of courses offered by European Ethnology in Würzburg.
Introductory and Orientation Examination
In some subjects there is a introductory and orientation examination (GOP). This determines whether students have the basic knowledge for the subject area and are suitable for the degree programme. Currently, there is no introductory and orientation examination in the Bachelor's degree programme European Ethnology/Volkskunde (75 and 60 ECTS) (Fachspezifische Bestimmungen zur ASPO 2015, § 5) In the case of a combination of subjects, please also observe the regulations for the respective other subjects. For students who began their studies before WS 15/16, other regulations may apply. If you have any questions, please contact the examination office.
In the Masters programme European Ethnology/Folk Studies, you will acquire skills in scientific work with various sources such as documents, photos, films and objects, in the application of qualitative research methods, the implementation of research projects, in writing scientific texts and other forms of presentation of research results. You will learn to critically question social and cultural phenomena, to think interculturally and to delve beneath the surface of what is assumed to be obvious and self-evident.
In addition, excursions, an empirical research project and participation in exhibition projects with external cooperation partners guarantee an interdisciplinary, professionally and practically oriented academic education. The examination regulations and module handbooks Prüfungsordnungen, Modulhandbücher und Vorlesungsverzeichnis provide information on the specific structure and procedure of the degree programme, and the course catalogue offers an insight into the exciting and diverse range of courses offered by European Ethnology in Würzburg.
Admission requirements Masters Degree
In order to be able to take up the Master's programe, a successfully completed first degree (usually a Bachelor's degree) is a prerequisite. In addition, certain subject-related admission requirements (competences acquired in the first degree) must be met: Modules amounting to 25 ECTS from the field of European Ethnology / Folklore must be completed in the first degree.
An entrance committee decides on the fulfilment of the subject-specific admission requirements and the given aptitude within the scope of the application procedure. If the prerequisites are met, the applicant is admitted to the Master's programme European Ethnology/Volklore (Subject-specific regulations to the ASPO 2015, § 4.).(Fachspezifische Bestimmungen zur ASPO 2015, § 4
Doctoral studies are governed by the doctoral regulations of the Faculty of Humanities Promotionsordnung. For the doctorate, previous completion of the Diploma or Magister examination or a Master's degree is required. The doctorate consists of a dissertation, which must contain essential research results in a limited thematic area and an oral doctoral examination. This is conducted in the form of a disputation, which is essentially equivalent to the defence of the dissertation. It is possible to do a doctorate within the framework of the Würzburg Graduate School Würzburger Graduiertenschule
An introductory event for first-semester students usually takes place during the first week of lectures. Here you will receive helpful tips on the organisation and content of your studies. Afterwards, there is a "Ersti-Café" (Firsti Cafe) in the common room of the department, where you have the opportunity to get to know your fellow students and the department team, ask questions and enjoy coffee, tea and cake together. Information on when and where the introductory event takes place can be found in the course catalogue ("Introductory events at the beginning of your studies"). Please note that you must register online (via the WueStudy portal) for participation in courses and create your individual timetable early (before the start of lectures!). You can find general instructions for creating a timetable on the website of the Central Student Advisory Service. The examination regulations and module handbooks provide information on the structure and procedure of the degree programme. If you have any questions, both the student council and the student advisory service will be happy to help you. The Student Council and the Student Council Initiative organise various events for first-year students to help them get to know each other. If you have questions for specific teachers, you can find the office hours of all staff members on the Homepage (and on office doors).
- General Study and Examination Regulations (ASPO) for Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes.
- Subject-specific regulations for the ASPO with Bachelor's degree
- Subject-specific regulations for the ASPO with a Master's degree
Further information and resources
- European Ethnology in WueStart
- Homepage of the Chair of European Ethnology/Volkskundes
phone: +49 931 31- 89921
phone: +49 931 31-85608
Lehrstuhl für Europäische Ethnologie / Volkskunde
Institut für deutsche Philologie