Mittwoch, 14. Oktober 2015, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

MeSoS Seminar Series: Michaela Schäuble

Studying Re-enactments. Makeshift method or effective ethnographic research approach?

Hörsaal H10 (Fakultätszentrum für Methoden der Sozialwissenschaften)
Rathausstraße 19, Stiege 2, Hochparterre, 1010 Wien


Re-enactments are currently booming: be it in theatrical and “living history”

performances, museum exhibition and/or on television. But is the study of reenactments worthwhile and can it serve as a viable vehicle for ethnographic and/or historical inquiry? In which contexts is it inadequate or inefficient to distinguish between “authentic” and “staged” ritual performances? In my presentation I will present and compare examples of ritual re-enactment from two different research sites in Croatia and Southern Italy. In each case re-enactment is used as an emancipatory gesture that allows participants and performers to stage the past in

reaction to a conflicted present, yet the engagement with the respective historical subject matter differs fundamentally. Drawing on these ethnographic examples, I will critically assess the importance of re?enactment with regards to notions of intangible cultural heritage as well as an ethnographic research method.


Michaela Schäuble (Paul-Lazarsfeld-Visiting-Professor) is Assistant Professor for Social Anthropology with a focus on Media Anthropology at the University of Bern, Switzerland. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Croatia and published widely on the impact of violence on memory politics, the gendered character of ethno-nationalist discourse, and post-war transition in the former Yugoslavia. In addition, she is also trained as a documentary filmmaker. In her current project she

investigates the corporeal and sensory dimensions of religious ritual practice in early ethnographic documentary films (1940-1960s) on trance and spirit possession, comparing audio-visual material from West Africa, Haiti, and Italy.


Fakultätszentrum für Methoden der Sozialwissenschaften in Kooperation mit dem Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie


Seiichi Chikama
Fakultätszentrum für die Methoden der Sozialwissenschaften (MeSoS Vienna)
+43 (0)1 4277 49908