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Keynote Lecture by Prof. George Marcus

Oct 07, 2015

Prof. George Marcus (University of California, Irvine) opened this year’s Annual Conference on Wednesday, October 7, at 5:30 pm in the Alte Aula of Heidelberg University. He gave the keynote lecture entitled “‘Scale’ As a Problem of Contemporary Ethnographic Practice”. The talk was accompanied by "musical scales" from a Taiwanese ensemble, 3peoplemusic.

First, the Cluster's Acting Director, Prof. Axel Michaels, officially opened the annual conference and welcomed the audience. Prof. Barbara Mittler then introduced the music ensemble, that gave a prelude and a postlude to the lecture. After the first musical performance, conference organiser Prof. William Sax introduced the conference theme and keynote speaker George Marcus, to whom he handed over.

In his lecture, Marcus tackled questions such as "What sort of challenge does multi-sited ethnographic research pose today as compared to conventional methodologies of anthropological research?" "How does this compare to the 1990s when its emergence was first noted amid the rise of theories of globalization?" "Has the rise of informatics really changed everything as often claimed?" And, "Has it changed the ways in which ethnographic research is conducted today?"

The opening ceremony concluded with music from 3peoplemusic, a group of three young musicians from Taiwan, Kuo Min-Chin, Pan I-Tung and Jen Chung, and joined by Wang Ying-Chieh and Liao Shih-Yun. They introduced traditional and experimental compositions and scales for Chinese string and wind instruments.

Prof. George Marcus is Chancellor’s Professor and Chair of Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. His current interest lies in collaborating with others in the systematic rearticulation, or reinvention, of the norms and forms of the classic modalities of research in social/cultural anthropology.

The Annual Conference of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”/Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies took place from October 7 - 9, 2015, at Heidelberg University. It was organised by Prof. Dr. William Sax, Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz, and Shupin Lang on behalf of Research Area C "Knowledge Systems".

Please visit the conference website for the detailed programme


  • George Marcus giving the keynote speech

  • Group picture

  • Axel Michaels opening the conference

  • Barbara Mittler welcoming the musicians

  • William Sax introducing the keynote speaker

  • Chinese/Taiwanese music performance

  • Audience in the Alte Aula