A curiosity and interest in the understanding of people and their social coexistence, their cultural life forms, and their making sense of things in the past, present and future are essential qualities you should bring to the course in order to get the most out of it.
The starting points for acquiring cultural-scientific knowledge are the everyday worlds of human life. For this, pleasure in observing, describing and analyzing culture is needed. Open-mindedness to thinking about different cultures and ways of life, finding pleasure in taking part in discussions, in reading, and a willingness to write will make your studies immensely easier and more enjoyable.
The program relies on research and learning with a practical orientation and stimulating community-building thought and discussion processes to provide knowledge about cultural diversity, difference and identity. One concern is to impart the knowledge needed for the analysis of social and cultural phenomena and cultural conflicts in historical and contemporary contexts. The balanced combination of the disciplines of Volkskunde (Cultural Anthropology) and Cultural History is a special feature of the course, which is only available in Jena. Empirical-cultural studies, focusing on the present, are combined with historical studies of the worlds of the past into a single course of study here at Jena. The focus of Volkskunde is on European cultures, in particular local and regional cultures. Cultural History looks at different European national cultures taking into account regional and transnational considerations. A normal day of your studies will be characterized in particular by practical work (inter alia internships, project seminars and field trips), as well as a close support relationship with, and personal access to, the lecturers.
The study program focuses on education and training. In addition to providing specific professional knowledge, the promotion of social and personal skills is also part of the course: awareness about the relevance of cultural phenomena and conflicts, the ability to reflect and comprehend, as well as a sound understanding of the evaluation and classification of social processes. We develop independent working, logical and synthetic thinking, the ability of systematic organization and time management, communication skills and capacity for teamwork, willingness to take action, and sense of responsibility.
Development of an awareness of the other in oneself and of the self in others is a central aspect of our discipline. In addition, you will master important research methods and practices, in particular the critical-hermeneutical analysis of historical sources, empirical field research, including participant observation and qualitative interview techniques, the analysis of material culture and media techniques, scientific writing of different types of text, as well as public communication and presentation skills (e.g. for exhibitions, articles, blogs, books, oral presentations and lectures).
The study of Cultural History and Volkskunde provides students with a host of valuable abilities that can be transferred into a variety of occupational roles upon completion of the course. These include classical areas of cultural work, such as in museums, publishing houses, cultural policy and cultural exchange. In addition, new professional fields of activity continue to emerge in and around the field of culture. The abilities and skills acquired during your studies are designed for use in professional activities from journalism to political work, from science to writing, from working as a radio presenter to being a YouTube blogger. Whether you want to work as a museum curator or a game developer, in the archive or in public relations, with asylum seekers, migrants or in development aid, our course will provide you with the tools necessary to find employment in all cultural and social work related fields.