HISTORY

The Department of Ethnography at the University of Debrecen was established in 1949. The aim of the program offered by our department has been twofold right from the beginning: it included the practical training of museum professionals to be employed in the reorganized and newly created museums following the Second World War and the training of experts capable of conducting scholarly and academic research. Ethnographic research focused specifically on the culture of the peoples in Central-Eastern Europe, while special emphasis was given to the issue of inter-ethnic relations between peoples.

The educational and research activities of the department continue to be determined by Central and Eastern European orientation and highly practical guidance. The curriculum lays considerable emphasis on fieldwork and practice or internship conducted in museums. We require that students submit diploma theses containing new academic findings based on their own fieldwork. At our department, the pillars of education include minority research, the ethnography of religions, the anthropology of religions, the research of customs and the analysis of the processes of ethnicity and social ethnography.

We offer a complete program structure to our students, which is unique in Hungary. The curriculum is centered on ethnography and folkloristics, while our BA students can also specialize in museology. For MA students, specializations in folkloristics, material culture, ethnographic museology and cultural heritage are available. Our program in ethnography teacher training looks back on a history of more than twenty years, as teacher’s degrees in ethnography were first offered in Debrecen and in Hungary in 1998.

Following the completion of an MA program, we offer a chance to pursue postgraduate studies in the sole independent Doctoral Program in Ethnography in the nation for both our graduates and those who come from other institutions of Hungarian higher education to earn a PhD degree in ethnography and cultural anthropology.    

The objective of providing a program in ethnography is to train and educate future researchers of ethnography and professionals working in museums, who are well-informed about the disciplines of ethnography, folkloristics, museology and cultural anthropology at the international level on the basis of the best European traditions of  these fields and can apply their acquired knowledge and expertise according to the requirements recognized as 21st century skills in a variety of areas of intellectual activity.

Department heads from the beginning to the present include

The Department of Ethnography of the University of Debrecen has, for almost seventy years by now, operated an academic research center. MTA-DE Néprajzi Kutatócsoport [MTA-DE Ethnology Research Group] was headed first by Professor Béla Gunda, followed by Professor Zoltán Ujváry later. As of 2002, work of the research group has been coordinated by Professor Elek Bartha. Its chief field of research covers the inter-ethnic and cultural relations of the northeastern region of the Carpathian Basin. The members of the research group apply the methodology of ethnology to examine effects of the interactions between the traditional cultures of the peoples and ethnic groups inhabiting this area together as well as the transformations in their cultural particularities. We promote the inclusion of the research findings into the higher-education curriculum and encourage the dissemination of knowledge to non-professional audiences through science and scholarship promotion initiatives for all age groups. 

Updated: 2021.12.14.


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