“Fucking Different”

“Since 2005 Kristian Petersen has asked gay and lesbian filmmakers from various cities to make short documentaries and fiction films – in each case a lesbian taking on gay topics and vice versa. [The films intends] to dissolve the banality of classic gender identities […] and to overturn stereotypes about the ‘other’ and what’s ‘normal’“ (Program 65. Berlinale).

Under the headline: “Gender, Sex and Stereotypes” the Student Council of Social Anthropology invites everybody who is interested in this subject to the presentation and following discussion with Kristian Petersen.

Date: 20th January 2015

Time: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Place: Room S9, Castle of Muenster, Schlossplatz 2

Registration is recommended via fsethno@uni-muenster.de

We hope to see Kristian being greeted by a lot of interested faces. So, please spread the word!



Institutes Colloquium, Oct. 29, 4-6 pm

The Lanten Shamans´Academy: Continuity and Change in the Highlands of Northern Laos

Joseba Estévez (M.A.) will give a presentation as part of our Institute’s Colloquium.

Tag along and enjoy!

Next Institute’s Colloquium on the 9th of July 2014

Joop de Jong (Maastricht University): “Challenges to create synergy between global mental health and cultural psychiatry”.

This lecture addresses some major challenges to create synergy between the global mental health movement, cultural psychiatry and anthropology.

The first challenge is that the worlds of global mental health and cultural psychiatry are from distinct descent. Yet, they appear to share domains of mutual interests and expanding their horizons by learning from adjacent disciplines could be mutually beneficial. A second challenge for the global mental health movement, cultural psychiatry and anthropology is the conceptualization of a new classification system. A classification system integrating new insights from socio-neurobiology and from a networks perspective could bring cultural psychiatry, anthropology and global mental health closer. It could change the way of addressing the mental health gap, the third challenge.
I summarize attempts to achieve comprehensive mental health coverage around the globe and pose the question whether the strategy to achieve these goals is successful, both in high- (HIC) and low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). In LMIC, this strategy needs to be complemented by mobilizing other community resources including local practitioners and healers.

Wednesday, 9 of July 2014, 4-6 p.m.,
Studtstraße 21, Raum STU 105 </i

Don’t forget today’s institute’s colloquium!

Dr. Katharina Schneider (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg): “Fish Trading in Batang: Some Observations”

The paper presents some observations of fish trading in Batang, northern Java. It aims for a
preliminary characterisation of the different groups of traders currently active at the Batang fish auction place and their interaction.
Batang traders with different specialisations employ a shared vocabulary of scarcity, the price mechanism and market failure to formulate contrasting accounts of challenges and success, fair and unfair practices, pure and impure incomes.
The paper suggests how histories of interpersonal relations in Batang can help us understand the contrasts. It aims to show how, in the almost daily interactions of the traders with each other and with fishers and buyers at the auction, a ‘market’ emerges whose dynamics differ significantly from those that the textbook economic vocabulary used by the traders appears to point to.

Wednesday, 18th of June 2014, 4-6 p.m.,
Studtstraße 21, Raum STU 105 (2.10)


Next Wednesday 21st

Institute’s Colloquium

Prof. Dr. William Sax
(Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)on: “The Cultural Epidemiology of Ghosts: an interdisciplinary experiment”

Wednesday, 21st of May 2014,
4-6 p.m., Studtstraße 21, Raum STU 105 (2.10)

Institute’s Colloquium

Wednesday 7th of May, 16.15

Prof. Dr. Josephus Platenkamp (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster):
“Strangers, the State, and the Self in Germany”


When, in 2010, the German chancellor Angela Merkel dismissed the “multicultural approach” as an “absolute failure”, and the Bavarian minister-president Horst Seehofer insisted that the “integration” of immigrants could only be achieved if they complied with “our German Leitkultur” they both reiterated the essentialist reifications of a ‘national identity’ characterizing the public and political discourses of many European nation-states.
There indeed appears to be a growing consensus that the representatives of ‘other cultures’ living in Europe not only should conform to the laws of the State but also subscribe – at least in the public sphere – to those representations that identify the society in question as a “community of values”. The culturally specific actions and values of immigrants might be tolerated in the private domain, provided they do not conflict with the values of the nation-state in question.
A similar consensus seems to prevail at the level of the European Union. The Preamble of the Treaty on European Union of 2008 propagated the idea that its member States share a “common destiny”, originating in the “cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe“, and therefore constitute a common “community of values”4 as well.
These orientations are evidently grounded in European paradigms of world history and philosophy. They draw on ideas deriving inter alia from Enlightenment, Christian morality and political secularism that are assigned a universal relevance. They inform many of the international legal and political discourses and their global advocacy is deemed a solemn task. And yet, it is part of the same value configurations to advocate the incorporation of ‘strange’ non-European representations into the personal repertoire of each individual citizen. Originating in Renaissance and Romanticist thought, and transmitted through ‘classical’ education, the idea pertains that the ‘oriental’ other may be valued as a source of metaphysical wisdom, moral purity,artistic originality and proximity to Nature.
A peculiar configuration thus appears to characterize the valuation of people, ideas and actions of ‘strange’ provenance. What is excluded at the level of the nation-state should be included at the level of the individual’s life experience. As far as this valuation of ‘strangers’ is concerned a curious gap opens up between the nation-state and the individual Self.
To examine such value configurations let us recall Salman Rushdie’s words that “the only one who sees the whole picture […] is the one who steps out of the frame”. A “view from afar” is needed, and social anthropology is the social science par excellence to provide such a perspective. For only when observed through the lenses of other societies may one perceive the cultural idiosyncrasy of our own ideas and values more sharply.
So let me therefore turn to some Southeast Asian societies first, and see how they value the presence of ‘strangers’ in their midst.