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SIEF Releases Two New Films in "Ethnological Sensations" Series

Thursday, November 9, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rosalind V. Rini Larson
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Ethnologists Konrad Köstlin (Vienna) and Katrin Sontag (Basel) are featured in the next two films in the "Ethnological Sensations" series, a project produced by the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF). 

The "Ethnological Sensations" series was inspired by the work of the famous Dutch historian Johan Huizinga (1872-1945). Researching old historical documents, Huizinga experienced an immediate contact with the distant past, a strong impression that he once described as the 'historical sensation'. Playing on Huizinga's felicitous phrase, this film project refers to an 'ethnological sensation' to describe that special insightful and often unintentional experience during the research of an ethnologist or folklorist, the one moment that gave him or her the insight that this is it: the work they must dedicate themselves to, the discipline that makes them tick.

SIEF decided to share such important experiences. Diverse colleagues—present in Amsterdam at SIEF’s 50th anniversary symposium in 2014, present at the 12th international congress in Zagreb in 2015 or present at the 13th international congress in Göttingen in 2017—were asked to explain before the camera and share with their SIEF colleagues their own ethnological sensation or a telling moment that offered insight into what the field is all about. 

In these two newest additions, Konrad Köstlin and Katrin Sontag share how they both love the deep encounters with other people during fieldwork. And while Katrin Sontag tells how a car accident gave her access to the field of her research, Konrad Köstlin emphasizes that his whole life was an ethnological sensation.

Vimeo links:
Konrad Köstlin:
Katrin Sontag:

The International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) is a pluridisciplinary organization centered in the twin fields of ethnology and folklore (E&F) in their various denominations, within the larger family of anthropological and cultural-historical disciplines. To learn more about SIEF, visit their website ( or Facebook page (

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