Establishing the Anthropology of China in German-speaking Academic Institutions


“Establishing the Anthropology of China in German-speaking Academic Institutions”

The third meeting of the “Anthropology of China” working group of the German Anthropological Association (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie)

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

July 4th-5th, 2019

Anthropology of China Workshop


Convenors: Prof. Stephanie Homola (FAU) & Dr. Jean-Baptiste Pettier (FU Berlin)


Conference room (D1) – International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (IKGF)

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Hartmannstr. 14, 91052 Erlangen, Germany


The “Regional Working Group China” of the German Anthropological Association (GAA) was founded at the GAA conference 2015 in Marburg. Two previous meetings, held at the University of Zürich in 2016 and at the University of Cologne in 2017, allowed anthropologists working on China in various institutions in German-speaking countries to begin to work together and advance the work of establishing the anthropological study of China(s) in a German speaking context. The third meeting of the group will be held at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) on 4-5th July 2019.
This research group of anthropologists pursues two general objectives: first, to increase the visibility and institutionalization of the Anthropology of China in German-speaking academic institutions – including developing respective curricula and teaching materials, supporting junior scholars, and lobbying for strengthening the field; second, to establish the Anthropology of China as an impulse-giver for anthropological research in the German-speaking world, by nurturing anthropological theory with China-based research fieldwork that can be mobilised in other anthropological research fields.

The coming workshop at FAU will focus on four issues:

  1. Developing a curriculum for the Anthropology of China. Collectively designing an “Anthropology of China” course for graduate students appears as an efficient step to increase the interest of junior scholars in doing research in and on China. The idea is that group members exchange about successful teaching contents and compile a list of readings for undergraduate students. The list of references shall include general readings, but also more specific readings on subfields of Chinese anthropology, such as for example in the fields of migration, religion, social networks, urbanization, or state-citizen relationships.
  2. Debate: “The end of negotiations in China?” DGSK 2019’s conference theme is particularly well in line with the difficulties and world conflicts China anthropologists have to deal with. This debate will be an opportunity to examine the consequences of current global and Chinese tensions on China anthropologists’ work, in term of anthropological fieldwork and institutional collaborations.
  3. Future joint publications. The purpose of this workshop session is to discuss further development of publication projects which were previously launched by the group. The group intends to publish general contributions summarizing the history and current state of the Anthropology of China, engaging with its potential to give impulses for general anthropological debates.
  4. Debate: the German/European perspective on China: What can a German/European perspective on China specifically bring to the field of anthropology? How and why could it be (or should it be) different from the one developed elsewhere, for example in the American academic world? Is there such a thing as a European perspective on the Chinese world?

Discussions will combine thematic research topics with reflections on pedagogy, methodology, and the institutional development of the field of the Anthropology of China.

Information & schedule: Flyer

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