Rethinking Anthropological Engagement in Central-Eastern Europe, Warsaw, June 3-6, 2010


University of Warsaw, Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology

Slovak Association of Social Anthropologists

Central European University, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology

Charles University, Institute of Ethnology


The meeting’s objective is to encourage anthropological engagement in public debates in Central-Eastern Europe. Anthropological knowledge has not played as great a role in public discussions in the V4 region yet as it has elsewhere. Our aim is to explore how socio-cultural anthropologists and ethnologists in the region can play a more active role in their societies, and how they can use and apply anthropological knowledge in these activities in order to better understand and influence the world around them.

We see that anthropological engagement has recently become a topic of increasing importance with a growing number of anthropologists working in NGOs and state institutions, as well as with the recognition of anthropologists’ responsibility to their subjects. Through a comparison of perspectives, participants in the summer school will be able to better understand the significance of their discipline in the V4 region.

Lasting 4 days, the school will include workshops, panels, and discussions. These will center on ‘engaged anthropology’ based on topical research undertaken by faculty and students: Roma issues, religion and politics, gender, cultural heritage, and so on. We also plan to explore  Warsaw as a multilayered urban space by making short ethnographic observations of the Corpus Christi procession, the Vietnamese community, as well as the historical Jewish quarter.


Keynote address: David Scheffel (Thompson Rivers University, Canada)

“Visible Minorities in Post-Socialist Central Europe – the Case of Roma”


List of workshops:

1. Action Anthropology in Educational Context

Hana Cervinkova (University of Lower Silesia)


2. Religion and the Public Sphere

Juraj Buzalka (Comenius University), Vlad Namescu (Central European University)

part 1: Public religion in an ‘enlarged Europe’

part 2: Roundtable discussion on ‚Islamophobia in postsocialist Eurasia‘ – Discussants: Karolina Bielenin-Lenczowska, Iwona Kaliszewska


3. Social Construction of Historic Monuments

Ewa Klekot (University of Warsaw)


4. Public Sexualities, Public Anthropologies

Agnieszka Koscianska (University of Warsaw), Hadley Renkin (Central European University)


5. Anthropology and Development

Renata Hryciuk (University of Warsaw)


Other events:

–         Roundtable discussion on Roma: Laszlo Foszto (Babes-Bolyai University) and David Scheffel (Thompson Rivers University)

“International Migration (East-West), the Politics of Space, and the Production of Ethnographic Knowledge”

Extra-curricular events:

– participating in a Corpus Christi procession in the Old Town (Thursday, June 3)

– welcome dinner

– tour of the historical Jewish quarter and dinner at a Jewish-style restaurant

– tour of Vietnamese Warsaw and dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant

Registration details:

Interested students of social/cultural anthropology and ethnology, who are currently enrolled in their MA or early PhD studies, are asked to send a one-page Letter of Interest.

Please include the name and email address of your MA or PhD supervisor whom we may contact for reference.

Please send your Letter of Interest to:    

Deadline for application: May 16

Registration fee: 20 € 

The organizers offer facilities and accommodation in university hotel for discount prices. Full funding for participants’ travel and accommodation depends on the success of grant application. The information about additional funding will be available in the end of May.

Successful participants will be informed about their acceptance by the school by May 20, 2010.