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Subject information




Dr. Volker Adam

This link leads to a list of all the subjects this person oversees.


Here you find the contact information of the above-mentioned person.

Library Holdings and Acquisitions

The University and State Library has included in its holdings an older historical print collection of folk and ethnological literature from before 1945 (predominantly in German) as well as the holdings of acquisitions made by the seminar itself since 2002, which correspond to the sometimes changing research profiles of university lecturers. Nevertheless, it has been possible to acquire many basic works of modern ethnology in the years since 2002, with the result being, that the holdings are able to cover the subject in its full range. Most research literature is available in English, while textbooks and introductory works are often also available in German.


Gaps in the literature post-1945  continue to exist, but luckily, the current foci of research and teaching lie on topics well covered by the current holdings. The current collection foci are aligned with the prevailing profile of university teaching and research, and the aim is to continually expand access to electronic content.

Finding and Using

Titles related to ethnology are mainly located in stacks at the Branch Library Middle East/Ethnology  and therefore have to be ordered via Ha:lit. The lending of requested media is taking place at the circulation desk of the Branch Library Steintor-Campus. Apart from a few exceptions, the holdings can be borrowed freely. Additionally, there is an area containing  general reference works on ethnology in the entrance area of the Branch Library Steintor-Campus.

Collection of Subject-Relevant Links


Electronically available journals of the specific subject are indexed in the Electronic Journals Library (EZB).


There are numerous specialized databases available for researching ethnological literature. These are researchable via the Database Information System (DBIS).

Please remember to activate the VPN connection when researching outside of reach of the university wifi.

History and Profiling of the Subject

Ethnological studies were initially conducted at the MLU only for a short period of time as part of a teaching authorization between 1919 and 1922. Still, the ULB continued to acquire publications on folkloristic and ethnological topics in between the second half of the 19th century and the middle of the 20th century. It is noteworthy, that the subject of folklore (‘Volkskunde’) rather tends to focus on regional and in general german traditions. The now obsolete term ‘Völkerkunde’ (also ethnography), on the other hand, rather encompassed the study of non-European ethnic groups and cultures. More recently, ‘Völkerkunde’ has been replaced by the terms ethnology and social and cultural anthropology. In 2002, the Seminar for Ethnology of the University of Halle was established as the most recent ethnological institute in Germany, although its foundation is strongly related to the founding of the Max Planck Institute for Ethnological Research in Halle in 1998.


The subject department currently encompasses three professorship chairs at the MLU, whose research and teaching focus lies on a decidedly ethnological perspective on current problems of modern global society. Central to the degree programmes are field research, mastery of qualitative methods, and ethnological writing. Ethnology can be studied in both, one undergraduate programme as well as two graduate programmes (held bilingual German / English).