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Andreas Lipowsky



The Art of Ethnographic Research.
Embodiment, Scientific Method and Aesthetic Practice

Project Description:

The project investigates the broader intellectual and cultural history of the formation of modern ethnographic fieldwork methodology within three of the main national anthropological traditions (France, Great Britain, United States). During the interwar years, academic anthropological institutions have been relatively permeable to influences from other disciplines and from outside academia. Scholars who would gain influence within anthropology/ethnology had originally been studying other subjects and a significant number of researchers were well versed in the arts, hinting to an equally synergistic and conflicting relationship of emerging fieldwork practices and aesthetic and cultural movements. In a broader cultural context, it is readily discernable that the epistemological shift, the rise of immersive fieldwork methodology which led to the development of modern anthropology, is contemporaneous with a peak in the fascination with body-centric cultural phenomena across the North Atlantic. While the experiential imperative gained traction within the anthropological discipline, Europe and North America were enraptured by body-centric notions such as Lebensreform and Freikörperkultur in the German-speaking world, vis-a-vis an international boom in sports and dance practices. Avant-garde movements across the Western world sought to overcome l’art pour l’art aesthetics and instead pursued the development of art in relation with real-life experience, often with the ambition of advancing sociopolitical causes. In many of these instances, non-European cultural expressions were emphatically embraced by protagonists within Western cultural industries, and served as role models for European cultural, ‘primitivist’ tropes. The project seeks to expand our understanding of this entanglement by establishing connections between corpo-centric notions as well as cultural practices and elements of scientific method in anthropology. It traces these connections in British Social Anthropology (Bronislaw Malinowski), US Cultural Anthropology (Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, Zora Neale Hurston et al.) and French Ethnologie (Michel Leiris, Georges Bataille et al.)


Lipowsky, A. (2018) »Die neue ›Erziehung der Sinne‹. Fotografische Bildinszenierungen im Kontext der frühen Freikörperkultur«. In: Allolio-Näcke, L., Oorschot, J. van & Verstegen, U. (Eds.).
Nacktheit - transdisziplinäre anthropologische Perspektiven. Münster: Lit. (forthcoming)

Lipowsky, A. (2017) »Zynisch-kynische Gymnastiken. Körperkulturen, Bewusstseinsmodelle und mediale Inszenierung«. In: Zons, A. (Ed.). Die Passion des Realen. Bilder des Menschen zwischen den Kriegen. Augenblick. Konstanzer Hefte zur Medienwissenschaft. Volume 69/70. Marburg: Schüren. pp. 75-92

Conference Participation
Panels Organized:

04-06/10/18: “Concerning Matters and Truths. Postmodernism’s Shift and the Left-Right Divide.“ Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (D) in cooperation with the University of Konstanz. Member of Coordinating Commitee.

05-07/09/18: "Realism(s) of the Avant-Garde and Modernism" 6th international conference of the European Network of Avant-garde and Modernism Studies“ Universität Münster (D)
Double Panel „Contours of the Anthropological Avant-Garde“. Panel Coordinator

Papers Presented:

03/18: “Haunted by a wall long fallen. An auto-ethnographic exploration of Berlin post-border space“ at “La Ciudad: Imágenes e Imaginarios“. Universidad Carlos III, Madrid (ES)

02/18: “Faktenbasiertes Erzählen in der politischen Kommunikation“ at the International Symposium
“Post-Truth Narration?“. Zentrum für Erzählforschung, Wuppertal (D)

10/17: “Akte und Nackte: Fotografische Strategien der De-Idealisierung im Kontext der Körperkulturbewegungen“ at the 7. Interdisciplinary Symposium of the Center Anthropology of Religion(s), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (D)

Biographical Information:

Andreas Lipowsky is Magister Artium (double MA-degree) of “Cultural Theory and History” and Musicology (Humboldt-University of Berlin). He was a graduate exchange student to the University of British Columbia. His professional record include several years as policy assistant to members of the Berlin City Senate and as project coordinator to a pressure group advocating for workers’ rights in global supply chains of supermarkets. In 2017, he joined the graduate research training group “The Problem of the Real in Modern Culture” at the University of Konstanz, funded by the German Federal Research Foundation.

His creative projects range from co-editing the literary magazine UM[LAUT], that appeared with the Hamburg-based publisher doplpack from 2011-2013 to pursuing vocational training in classical voice. As a member of the Berlin-based ensemble PHØNIX16 he performed world-premieres of contemporary vocal music in Germany and abroad. Recent literary publications in German include contributions to magazines such as Lichtungen 149/2017 and Metamorphosen 18/2017, as well as Arthur Nickel (Ed) (2017) Von Fluchten und Wiederfluchten. Vechta: Geest-Verlag