Institute and Discipline

The Institute

The Ludwig-Uhland-Institut für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft is the Department for Historical and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Tübingen and enjoys a high degree of name recognition, nationally, internationally, and within the university and the local area. The name of the Institute has been well known since the early postwar era and in the last four decades, the distinctive name of the discipline has also become a trademark. The "LUI" and its field of "EKW" as it is understood here together represent a modernization of the field of Volkskunde (Folklore Studies), an opening-up of the discipline, and an international orientation that is unique within Germany and a model for other institutions. 

The Ludwig Uhland Institute is located in the middle of the university town of Tübingen: the Institute's offices are housed in two buildings in the Tübingen Castle complex. Lectures are generally held in the university's main building. The Institute has important collections encompassing texts, pictures, photographs, audio and video recordings, and objects, which are used in teaching and research.

The Discipline

Empirische Kulturwissenschaft (EKW) in Tübingen is one of the disciplines that emerged from the field of Folklore Studies. It examines phenomena of everyday culture both in the present day and from a historical perspective. Both perspectives are used to analyze and interpret cultural orders and dynamics in modern societies. This is why we refer to the field in English as Historical and Cultural Anthropology. The basic theoretical category of EKW is culture, which is understood as the ongoing process of practical negotiation of the rules by which people, groups, and societies live together, communicate with one another, and distinguish themselves from one another. EKW investigates how people work, how they organize their daily lives and interact with one another, how they deal with both their natural and cultural heritage, and what images they themselves construct regarding these relationships.
At other universities, our field is called "European Ethnology".