Events by the SIEF Young Scholars Working Group

Future events

Past events

Marie Heřmanová: "Ethics in Netnography"

Wednesday 08/06/2022 at 18:00 CET on ZOOM.

Digital ethnography and, more specifically, qualitative research on social media (netnography) presents researchers with both old and new ethical challenges regarding protection of privacy of both the research participants and the researcher, data anonymization and reflectivity and positionality of the researcher. As the lines between private and public identities on social media get increasingly blurred, our sense of where the fieldwork starts and ends sometimes blurs too. The lecture will first present the main principles of digital ethnography on social media and then reflect on the ethical challenges they pose, with specific focus on reflexivity, privacy and positionality.

Dr Marie Heřmanová is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences and associate researcher at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague. Her research focuses on internet communities, influencer cultures, authenticity on social media and gender politics of hate speech and disinformation online. She is interested in the methodology of digital social research, combining digital ethnography perspective with communication studies approach.

Alessandro Testa: "Young Scholars and Academic Careers in Europe: Insights for Navigating Troubled Waters towards a Safe Harbour"

Alessandro Testa is Senior Researcher and Assistant Professor at the Institute of Sociological Studies, Charles University, Prague, where since 2020 he has also led the ERC CZ project “Re-Enchantment of Central-Eastern Europe”. Prior to this, he was Lise Meitner Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Vienna. His research interests range from public rituality to secularisation and post-secularism, from longue-durée cultural continuities to vernacular religiosities, from popular culture to esotericism, from cultural heritage-making to identity formation and nationalism in Europe, from theories and methods in social and historical sciences to epistemology, with a special attention to Central-Eastern and Mediterranean Europe. His research outputs include four authored books, four edited volumes, some 70 peer-reviewed articles in journals and chapters in volumes, and more than 150 talks and conference presentations in 25 countries. For more than 10 years he has been teaching courses in Historical Anthropology, Anthropology of Religion, Anthropology of Cultural Heritage, and Ethnographic Methods.

Further info and publications here.

Mentoring Program

The Mentoring Program consists of three events, which will focus on some of the major challenges of contemporary academic dimensions of our disciplines (publishing, funding and applied aspects). Relevant speakers will share their knowledge and experiences, while the attendees will have the opportunity to actively engage with questions and comments. All the events will target both junior and experienced scholars. No prior registration is required.
Organised in collaboration between the SIEF Board and Young Scholars Working Group.

Workshop: How to get published?
Monday, June 21 at 19.30-20.30 (UTC+3)

The workshop on How to get published will address questions related to publishing in international, peer-reviewed journals in the fields of ethnology, anthropology and folklore. In the first part, editors from leading international journals (Ethnologia Europaea, Cultural Analysis, Ethnologia Fennica, Anthropological Journal of European Cultures) will focus on key issues such as submission procedures, timelines, the review process, practical matters, single/multiple authorship, financial dimensions, writing in English, and hierarchies in/of publishing, etc. This will be followed by a short Q&A section. Afterwards, the participants will be allocated to breakout rooms, where they will have a chance to talk to the editors in a more private setting. The workshop is part of the Mentoring Program, but it is aimed at both junior and experienced scholars. Questions and comments can be sent in advance (until 10 June) to: yswg(at)
Speakers: Editors of relevant journals: Sophie Elpers (Cultural Analysis), Eerika Koskinen-Koivisto (Ethnologia Fennica), Karen Miller (Cultural Analysis), Alexandra Schwell (Ethnologia Europaea), Laura Stark (Ethnologia Europaea), Patrick Laviolette (Anthropological Journal of European Cultures)
Chair: Ana Svetel
Attendees: SIEF Congress participants (junior and experienced scholars)

Writing Grants for the Wenner-Gren Foundation
Tuesday, June 22 at 13.15-14.00 (UTC+3)

The Wenner-Gren Foundation is committed to advancing anthropological knowledge, building sustainable careers, and amplifying the impact of anthropology within the wider world. It provides a variety of grants to support individual research, collaborative projects, conferences and training fellowships. In this webinar, Wenner-Gren President Danilyn Rutherford will present the funding opportunities provided by the Foundation, describe the review process, and offer helpful tips on putting together a successful application.
Speaker: Danilyn Rutherford, President of the Wenner-Gren Foundation
Chairs: Nevena Škrbić Alempijević, Nada Kujundžić
Attendees: SIEF Congress participants (junior and experienced scholars)

Applied Careers and Ethnological Knowledge
Thursday, June 24 at 12.15-13.15 (UTC+3)

The idea of this webinar and roundtable is to introduce different career options (personal paths of professionals) and experiences outside the academic sphere. What kinds of career options can we think of besides the academic research, and what kind of skills are needed? How can we use ethnological knowledge in different applied works: tourism, gastronomy, cultural centers, NGOs, etc.? Can we combine the applied carrier with the academic? What kind of skills, special knowledge should we acquire for different “applied fields”? We ask our participants to tell their personal paths, experiences, and ideas. We also talk about positive feedbacks, difficulties, dreams, and reconciliation with the family.
Speakers: Clíona O´Carroll (University College, Cork, Ireland), Håkan Jönsson (Docent, University Lecturer, Lund University), Eyjólfur Eyjólfsson (caretaker of a museum on the Icelandic Turf Huts, Iceland)
Chairs: Eerika Koskinen-Koivisto, Gunnar Óli Dagmararson, László Koppány Csáji
Attendees: SIEF Congress participants (junior and experienced scholars)

SIEF2019 Mentorship Programme

The Young Scholars Working Group (YSWG), in cooperation with the SIEF Board, organized a special, on-going event held during the 2019 SIEF Congress: the SIEF Mentorship Programme. The Programme aimed to bring together early-career researchers (Mentees) and experienced scholars (Mentors), who might offer them advice and guidance related to areas such as research in general, conference presentations, teaching, grant/funding applications, the (non)academic job market, networking, and publishing.

Panels at SIEF2019 14th Congress, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 14-17 April 2019

Young Scholars Working Group: Youth Cultures in a Transforming World: Practices, Experiences, Representations; convenors Nada Kujundžić and Franziska Weidle

YSWG Conference in Göttingen 2017.

The First International Conference of the SIEF-Young Scholars Working Group was held on March 26, 2017 in Göttingen, Germany. The Conference brought together scholars in the early stages of their careers. We discussed the different ways in which we “Learn Our Trade” and which academic currents and paradigm shifts shape our research questions and disciplinary interests. Additionally, the Conference served as a platform for discussing participant’s individual research projects and learning about work experiences from invited discussants with a background in anthropology/ethnology/folklore who have chosen different professional paths.

A brief overview of the sessions

First session: panel “How to Learn Our Trade”
We invited participants to take an ethnographic look at their own institutions and reflect upon the way they have been socialized into our disciplines. This could mean taking a closer look at the impacts of national or regional histories that have influenced the development of our disciplines, their research emphases and schools of thought (especially given our disciplinary roots in nation-building processes or other close ties with national politics and/or political regimes).

The aim of this panel is to combine diverse knowledge and experience to create an overview of the broad and diverse landscapes of institutions where our disciplines are taught across Europe and beyond.

First session: panel “Paradigm Shifts and Crossings of Disciplinary Borders”
In the past, paradigm shifts have changed our research subjects, theoretical frameworks, and methodologies, thus redefining the profile of Ethnology/Folkloristics/Anthropology in relation to other scholarly disciplines. In this panel we want to look at the academic currents that shape our research questions and influence disciplinary interests. What kind of impact does the growing relevance of inter- and trans-disciplinary research contexts have on our disciplinary self-understanding?

Second session: “Workshop on Writing a Research Paper or a Research Proposal”
This session was divided into several smaller working groups in which participants could discuss their own work-in-progress (e.g. a research grant proposal, parts of their master or doctoral thesis, monograph, or an article) and receive feedback from other participants.

Third session (Roundtable Discussion): “M.A., Ph.D., Postdoc –What Comes Next”
What will our professional life look like after a M.A., a PhD or a PostDoc? Here we discussed career opportunities within or outside academia (e.g. UNESCO, public services, private companies, NGOs, freelancing) and upcoming questions such as: Which challenges might arise when doing applied research? In competition with academics from other fields in social sciences we are often obliged to emphasize our folkloristic/anthropological/ethnological profile – how can we stress our knowledge and methods? We invited people from our field who have followed different professional paths and are willing to share their experiences and talk about chances and challenges.


First International Conference of the SIEF Young Scholars Working Group

Held in cooperation with the Institute of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology at Göttingen University.

Coming of Age: Young Scholars in the Field of Folkloristics, Ethnology, and Anthropology Göttingen, March 26th, 2017.

07:00 p.m. Informal get-together at Café & Bar Celona, opposite the campus.

08:30 a.m. – 02:00 p.m. Registration at the Conference venue
Conference Centre at the Historical Observatory
Geismarer Landstraße 11, Göttingen

09:00 a.m. Official welcome address by SIEF President Valdimar Tr. Hafstein and the YSWG Board Members (Nada Kujundžić, Mathilde Lamothe-Castagnous,
Arnika Peselmann, Jón Þór Pétursson and Alessandro Testa)

+ FIRST SESSION 09:30 – 11:00 am
Panel A: How to learn our trade
Convenors: Nada Kujundžić and Arnika Peselmann
Room: 1

Mahsun Oti (University of Basel, Switzerland)
“Establishment of the Republic of Turkey: Anthropology as a ‘science of race’”
It is crucial to reconsider Turkish anthropology in its historical context from the late Ottoman era until the formation of the Republic of Turkey. This paper seeks to examine the mainstream understanding of Turkish anthropology through a historical perspective.

Joan Roura-Expósito (Spanish National Research Council – CSIC, Spain)
“Hardship ethnographies: the CSIC (Spain)”
My aim is to discuss the depoliticization of certain traditions of knowledge by focusing on the history of the main Spanish scientific institution: the CSIC (Higher Council of Scientific Research), and the epistemological consequences of its establishment during Franco’s dictatorship (1939–1975).

Nikola Balaš (Charles University Prague, Czech Republic)
“Only experienced mothers can nurture babies: Making of first Czech anthropologists”
After the revolution in 1989, several individuals and institutions attempted to plant sociocultural anthropology in the freshly post-socialist Czechoslovakia. Were these attempts successful? What were the educational realities? How did post-socialist education train its first anthropologists?

Ana Svetel (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)
“In the draught of central Europe: Traditions and novelties of ethnology and cultural anthropology at the University of Ljubljana”
As soon as the University of Ljubljana was established in 1919, the roots of institutionalised ethnology and cultural anthropology emerged. But they did not develop in a vacuum. My aim is to contextualise the traditions and novelties at the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology within the wider social, historical and political frames of central Europe in the 20th century.


Pedro Gonçalo Pereira Antunes (University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal)
“Envisioning the commendation of souls in Portuguese ethnology”

Based on my ongoing PhD research on the “commendation of souls” ritual, I intend to reflect on my engagement with this “classical” Portuguese ethnological subject for a future ethnography. How can its ethnohistorical legacy become a disciplinary meta-reflexive process? How can it inform my own “ethnographic knowledge” formation in the present?

Elīna Gailīte (Archives of Latvian Folklore, Latvia)
“Fieldwork as reality check for a folklorist”
The presentation will explore the importance of student and real fieldwork as part of the professional growth of a young folklore researcher, taking into account positive and negative experience.

Michal Lehečka (Anthropictures & Charles University Prague, Czech Republic)
“Connecting academia and municipalities. Ethnographic practice, applied research, urban development”
Drawing on the teacher/student experiment based on fieldwork practice in Prague’s urban public space, I will show how Master degree students of social anthropology become acquainted with the craft of field research, applied anthropology and urban development issues.


Panel B: Paradigm Shifts and Crossings of Disciplinary Borders
Convenors: Mathilde Lamothe-Castagnous and Alessandro Testa
Room: 2

Ana Pastor Perez (University of Barcelona, Spain)
“When archaeological conservation meets ethnography”
The democratisation of archaeology can be reflected upon in the context of constant growth of questionable bottom-up projects that gather numerous professionals. Those inclusive, sustainable, participative projects aim to empower our society. What I expect to discuss here is the emptiness that these concepts embody when applied by unintended professionals.

Digne Ūdre (Latvian Academy of Culture & Archives of Latvian Folklore, Latvia)
“Starting folkloristics in the digital age”
The presentation focuses on the interdisciplinary digital turn, that folkloristics has faced during the last few decades, and will give an insight into participative practices carried out by the digital archives of Latvian folklore.

Smita Yadav (University of Sussex, United Kingdom)
“Collaborative anthropology”
Realising there is still much to learn about human society, contemporary anthropology is currently experiencing a return of the old tradition of “othering” field informants. How does the anthropology of today tell us a different story of the world than that told by earlier anthropologists? This paper explores how anthropology continues to interpret growing interlinked societal and cultural concepts and what pluralistic anthropology contributes towards such interspersed landscapes of social lives.


Emese Ilyefalvi (Eötvös Loránd University Budapest & University of Pécs, Hungary)
“Constructing witches in early modern Hungarian witchcraft trials. Halfway between disciplines”
Using an interdisciplinary scope, the paper seeks to understand how interactors construct the “witch” during early modern Hungarian trial processes, and show how these different scopes help answer the core question.

Eva-Maria Walther (University of Regensburg, Germany)
“Whose realm, whose culture? Challenges and opportunities for anthropologists within area studies”
This paper examines the dissent between disciplines about the nexus of culture and territory, and invites scholars to specify their approach to the matter.


Ana Ruiz-Blanch (Institute of Heritage Sciences, Spain)
“Knowledge has no borders: An analysis of how to dwell on big changes with no fear, but with many risks”
I will analyse the challenges and risks which accompany attempts to conciliate and create bridges, not only between disciplines but also with non-academic experiences. Moreover, I will explore the need (and difficulties) to look for new formulas for co-creating knowledge, which like love, has no borders.

Nina Graeff (Free University of Berlin, Germany) and Daniela Lazoroska (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
“Becoming ‘perfect flâneurs’: young scholars searching for home in the multitude”
The perfect flâneur sets up home in the constant networking of “epistemic partners” in academia, in the field, and in personal life. We explore the kinds of anthropological perspectives arising from continuous border-crossings, rather than becoming rooted in one nation and one school of thought.


COFFEE BREAK 11:00 – 11:30 a.m.

+ SECOND SESSION 11:30 a.m. – 01:00 p.m.
Workshop on Writing a Dissertation or Research Paper
Moderated by Nathalie Knöhr, Nada Kujundžić and Julia Tiemann

Workshop 2a
Moderator: Nada Kujundžić
Room: 1

Dagrún Ósk Jónsdóttir (University of Iceland, Iceland)
“The Ouija board in the age of information”
The Ouija board game has been popular with teenagers in Iceland for quite some time. My research reflects on this mysterious game using qualitative research methods. My main questions are: why do teens play the Ouija board? how do they experience this phenomenon? and how do they share their experience?

Mari Säisä (University of Turku, Finland)
“Young adults’ belonging in the community. Case study: Finnish regional student associations of the University of Turku”
I study young adults’ belonging in the community by interviewing members of regional
student associations and observing them. I use the ethnographic approach.

Viktória Havay (Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, Hungary)
“National awakening and the first Hungarian fairy tale collections”
The first Hungarian fairy tale collections were published at the beginning of the 19th century in – curiously enough – the German language. At that time, Hungary belonged to the Habsburg Empire, and the target audience used German as the common language. Georg von Gaal, Count Johann von Mailáth, and Baron Alois von Mednyánszky – the so-called “Triad of Vienna” – were the authors and publishers of these anthologies. My presentation aims to explore how these authors collected fairy tales and stories.

Workshop 2b
Moderator: Julia Tiemann
Room: 2

Maryam Abbasi (Jyväskylä University, Finland)
“Objects as mirror of meanings in the Zar ritual”
This talk focuses on objects used in the Zar ritual and their meanings as a set of cultural activities used to treat spirit possession in the Hormozgan province of Iran. Each ritual object has its own meaning and people carry out ritual actions not only to observe the rules of Zar, but also to avoid supernatural punishment.

Shany Kotler (The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel)
“’Hitler rants’ YouTube meme as an expression of folk-culture protest in modern Israel”
From its very beginning as a simple Facebook event, with the help of countless viral ‘memes’ as well as slogans that are still being used – the ‘Tents Protest’ of summer 2011 in Israel, brought the nation to the streets and the folk creativity to its peak.

Auður Viðarsdóttir (University of Iceland, Iceland)
“Adapting a discipline to your life”
This paper addresses how ethnology enabled me to bring together my three different roles as a musician, feminist activist and an academic in my ongoing project on women, music and technology, and the main challenges faced in this union.

Workshop 2c
Moderator: Nathalie Knöhr
Room: 3

László Koppány Csáji (University of Pécs, Hungary)
“Anthropological discourse analysis: theoretical frame without a fieldwork method”
How can discourse analysis – a theoretical frame – become a useful tool for ethnological studies? On the basis of our long-term fieldwork, actors’ personal discourse horizons, researched discourse space and social discourse field (context) are all to be considered as such a new method.

Franziska Weidle (Göttingen University, Germany)
“Hard to keep up: Questions of proficiency, conventions and experimentation”
Drawing on the experience of my PhD research, I would like to discuss issues of proficiency (or lack thereof), disciplinary belonging and established no go’s. How can we keep up with our increasingly complex topics, live up to the necessary expertise they require and still meet academic standards?

Damián-Omar Martínez (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany) and Francisco Martínez (Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia)
“Looking closer to home: Ethnographies of Euro-anthropology”
Whether there is such a thing as European anthropology is still a subject of controversy among different actors in different European national fields. It is that very controversy that deserves a detailed investigation, an ethnographic work, and an actual account of the diversity of anthropologies being practiced on our continent today.

LUNCH BREAK 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. (catering on site)

+ THIRD SESSION 02:00 – 03:30 p.m.
M.A., Ph.D., Postdoc – What Comes Next? Discussion Round
Moderators: Arnika Peselmann and Alessandro Testa
Room: 1

Pavel Borecký (Anthropictures & Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland)
As a co-founder of the first applied anthropology NGO in Czech Republic, Pavel Borecký will discuss challenges the NGO has been facing while trying not to lose track of its initial aspirations: knowledge-creation for the sake of social impact, exploration of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches, public presence and recognition of the discipline beyond academia.

Cyril Isnart (Institut d’Ethnologie Européenne, Méditerranéenne et Comparative, CNRS Aix Marseille Université, France)
Cyril Isnart (PhD Anthropology, 2004, Université de Provence) is a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research. Previously, he taught anthropology in France and Portugal, served as research fellow at the University of Évora (Portugal) and worked for different cultural institutions. In 2009, he cofounded the Network of Researchers on Heritagization (Respatrimoni). He is co-chair of the Francophone Network of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.   

Francisco Martínez (Journalist/ Lecturer at the Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia)
Francisco Martínez is a Pessoan anthropologist specialized in peripheries. PhD, and with academic experiences that go from the Moscow School of Diplomacy to the Humboldt University and the Aleksanteri Institute of Helsinki, he learns however from artists, and
from time to time crosses the line and curates exhibitions. In his previous life, he was a journalist, working as a correspondent in Russia and Turkey. In the discussion round, he will talk about his actual crossroads.

Markus Tauschek (Institute of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology, Freiburg University, Germany)
Markus Tauschek is Professor of European Ethnology at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology at the University of Freiburg and director of the Centre for Popular Culture and Music. 2009-2015 he was Assistant Professor of European Ethnology at University of Kiel. 2004-2009 he was scientific assistant at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology at the University of Göttingen. His main research interests concern cultural heritage, traditions, popular and performative culture and economic anthropology.

Anita Vaivade (Latvian Academy of Culture / Archives of Latvian Folklore, Latvia)
Anita Vaivade defended her PhD thesis on the conceptualisation of the intangible cultural heritage legislation (cum laude) in 2011. She became Assistant Professor at the Latvian Academy of Culture and joined researchers of the Archives of Latvian Folklore. She led the Latvian delegation to the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2013–2016) and is currently collaborating with French legal scholars on a comparative study “Osmosis” on intangible cultural heritage legislation (2014–2018).

Ayako Yoshimura (Librarian, University of Chicago, USA)

A native of Japan, Ayako Yoshimura works as a Japanese studies librarian at a North American university after earning a Ph.D. in folkloristics. The interdisciplinarity of the field and experience in teaching and public outreach serve her well in this non-teaching profession.


Maryam Abbasi (Jyväskylä University, Finland)
“Objects as mirror of meanings in the Zar ritual”
This ethnographically oriented poster focuses on objects used in the Zar ritual and their meanings as a set of cultural activities used to treat spirit possession in the Hormozgan province of Iran. Each ritual object has its own meaning and people carry out ritual actions not only to observe the rules of Zar, but also to avoid supernatural punishment.

Tibor Böhm (University of Vienna, Austria & University of Leipzig, Germany)
“From Vienna to South Africa: Young scholars ʻgoing into the field’ for the first time”
In 2016 a small group of postgraduate anthropology students from the University of Vienna travelled to a South African national park to research topics of community participation in nature conservation. This poster highlights the challenges and difficulties of young academics during their first in-depth field work experience.

Eyjólfur Eyjólfsson (University of Iceland, Iceland)
“The Icelandic langspil as a source of creativity and craft”
One of the main goals of my on-going MA research is to give students at elementary schools an opportunity to build their own langspil, an Icelandic folk instrument. My hope is that such a project, with emphasis on creativity and craft, will combine various subjects taught in elementary schools. 

Shany Kotler (Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel)
“Social protests at the internet era”
From its very beginning as a simple Facebook event, with the help of countless viral ‘memes’ as well as slogans that are still being used – the ‘Tents Protest’ of summer 2011 in Israel, brought the nation to the streets and the folk creativity to its peak.

Mari Säisä (University of Turku, Finland)
“Young adults’ belonging in the community. Case study: Finnish regional student associations of the University of Turku”
I study young adults’ belonging in the community by interviewing members of regional
student associations and observing them. I use the ethnographic approach.

Anna Joy Thigpen Hunt (MLitt University of Aberdeen, Scotland)
„Looking at the Ghost Ship Tragedy through Facebook“
In Oakland California on December 2, 2016, the artists' community known as the Ghost Ship burnt, taking 38 lives. An analysis of selected Facebook posts made in the aftermath will filter the primary categories of reactions to this tragedy and how the fire acted as a catalyst for addressing issues that had long been of concern.

Asya Zaitceva (University of Vienna, Austria)
“The Russian-speaking in Vienna: Integrated or separated”

Ethnic and cultural heterogeneity, which are held together by a common historical past as well as the Russian language as a lingua franca, are attributed to Russophones worldwide. Both specifics and areas of intensified interaction within the Russian speaking community are regarded in the case of Vienna.

We would like to thank the Göttingen Graduate Schools of Humanities and
the Faculty of Philosophy at Göttingen University for their kind support of our conference.

Faculty of Philosophy at Göttingen University Göttingen Graduate Schools of