Department of Ethnology

Major Research Areas

The Department of Ethnology conducts research primarily into ethnocultural issues integrated by three umbrella concepts of ethnicity, culture and tradition, approached in anthropological sense. Theoretical and methodogical approaches are influenced mostly by social and cultural anthropology, European ethnology and folkloristics which are understood as main thematical domains defining the academic identity of the Department. Our research is based both on conceptual analysis (with constant attention paid to the results and interests of related disciplines, such as sociology, historiography and literary studies) and on case studies resulting from fieldwork. The purpose of case studies, which form the second major strand of our research, is to develop empirical analyses smoothly supplementing the generalizing research. Fieldwork and archival research is conducted mostly on the territory of the Czech Republic and in Central and Eastern Europe, with addition of selected regions of the world.

Major Publication Projects

Research outcomes of the Department are published continuously in two peer-reviewed academical journals published by the Department itself: Studia Ethnologica Pragensia (published since 2010) and The Journal of Culture (published since 2012). Other publications include book-length monographs and articles in other ethnological and anthropological periodicals both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

National and International Partner Institutions

On national level, the Department enjoys a close partnership with the Institute of Ethnology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; the partnership involves joint management of the doctoral degree programme (Ph.D.) in Ethnology and membership in academic bodies and evaluation groups.

In their grant-funded research projects, members of the staff, Ph.D. students and also undergraduates establish contacts with academic institutions in various parts of the world (especially Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United States). Such contacts allow exchange of academic and teaching experience, exchange of publications and publishing opportunities, and also mutual reviewing.

Furthermore, contacts with our international partners are maintained through bilateral contracts: Erasmus+ programme and partnerships under the Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies (CEEPUS). These partnership initiatives provide the contractual partners with an organizational and economic framework for participation in conferences, seminars, fellowships, excursions, and significantly promote exchange of information.

The Department of Ethnology is a collective member of the Czech Ethnological Society, established in 1893. Through individual membership of its staff, the Department of Ethnology is also a member of WCAA – World Council of Anthropological Associations, International Society for Contemporary Legend Research, Czech Association for Social Anthropology and other professional associations. Recently, some members of the Department became involved in the Evaluating Body of Non-Governmental Board of the UNESCO for evaluation nominations to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

Major Conferences and Events

On October 9, 2013, the Department of Ethnology organized the international conference Revitalization, Preservation and Formation of Cultural Identity of Native Americans with 18 conference participants. Proceedings of the conference will be published in a monograph entitled Identity, Tradition and Revitalization of American Indian Cultures (Karolinum Press, 2015).

On June 2–8, 2014, the Department of Ethnology organized a major international conference Perspectives on Contemporary Legend. International Society for Contemporary Legend Research 32nd Conference. The main organizers were the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research and Faculty of Arts. The conference hosted 54 conference participants from 16 nations, who presented 38 papers in 6 thematical panels (The conference was one of the biggest conferences conducted in Czech ethnology since the EASA 2nd Biannual Conference held in Prague in 1992, and the biggest folklore conference ever organized since the ISFNR Interim Conference held in Liblice in 1966). Published abstracts of the conference and other conference materials in electronic form can be downloaded from the website of our Department.

On annual basis, the Department of Ethnology also organizes a colloquium in partnership with the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology of the University of Wroclaw, Poland, in order to discuss current issues in contemporary anthropology, ethnology and folkloristics.