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ISEK - Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies


ISEK is a university department that combines two research and teaching areas and a university museum at the intersection of cultural and social sciences. It is a platform for interdisciplinary dialogue.

The ISEK offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctorate programs in both subjects, Social and Cultural Anthropology and Popular Culture Studies. The subjects are concerned with different forms of expression of culture and society and are linked by complementary research approaches, for example, in the area of qualitative empirical methods. The thematic spectrum ranges from studying popular literature and media through the research of everyday life and aspects of socio-economic change to the analysis of global transformation processes and their effects at the local level.

The systematic link between research and teaching is central to ISEK’s scientific understanding. Project-oriented work forms the basis of the training in both subjects and prepares students for a wide range of professional fields.

Archives are available in image, sound and print, as well as three public libraries, for research, teaching and public relations.

History of the Institute

The ISEK was founded on 1 January 2014 and has three sites. It includes the former Ethnological Seminar at Andreasstrasse 15 (History of Social and Cultural Anthropology), the former Department of Popular Culture Studies at Affolternstrasse 56 (History of Popular Culture Studies (German)), as well as the Ethnographic Museum at Pelikanstrasse 40.