About us

We are a working group of cultural anthropologists who engage in and promote the anthropological study of music and sound at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany (JGU). Our goal is to render the study of sonic phenomena an established anthropological field, much like "ethnomusicology" is within musicology. To this aim, we try to bring forward and institutionalize the anthropological study of music and sound by

  • doing and furthering research worldwide on whatever you can hear,
  • teaching classes on music and anthropologies of music and sound in BA and MA programs,
  • organizing academic events like lectures and conferences (most prominently a biennial "Anthropology of Music Lecture Series and Master Class"),
  • organizing public events like discussions or lecture-concerts.
We are interested in all kinds of music and sound from around the world. Being part of the of the Department for Anthropology and African Studies (ifeas) at JGU, however, we share a special interest in African music. With a unique collection of African popular music, the "African Music Archives" (AMA), also situated at the ifeas, is the most prominent expression of this general orientation.

The Department of Anthropology and African Studies of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz is an interdisciplinary department characterized by a range of teaching and research activities in anthropology and African linguistics. Its different subjects in African studies include linguistics, literature, music and popular culture. For detailed information, see the departments web-page

>> LINK ifeas

Volkswagen Foundation
The Anthropology of Music Lecture Series and Masterclass (AoM-LS/MC) is generously supported by the VW-Foundation since its second edition in 2019. The very substantial funding of both the summer school and the speaker’s fees enables us to bring together national and international participants from all over the world, especially from the global South. We are also highly grateful for the generous support by the VW-Foundation that allowed us to develop this homepage.
Ministry of Science, Further Education, and Culture Rhineland-Palatinate
The states ministry has funded the first edition of the Anthropology of Music Master Class and Lecture Series in 2018. Through substantial support, it has also helped to establish the anthropology of music as a new core area at the ifeas.

German Research Council (DFG)
The German Research Council has contributed to funding the AoM-LS/MC 2019 with three student assistant employments, who considerably helped with the organization and made sure things ran smoothly during the event.
Center for Intercultural Studies at JGU (ZIS)
JGU’s Center for Intercultural Studies has supported the AoM-LS/MC 2018, covering travel expenses of our international contributors.
Research Center of Social and Cultural Studies Mainz (SoCuM) at JGU
SoCuM Research Center promotes interdisciplinary research cooperation between Social and Cultural Studies at the University of Mainz (JGU) and supports the AoM-LS/MC as well as the AoM-working group.
Ernst Wilhelm Müller Foundation
The foundation, established by the former Mainz professor of anthropology Ernst Wilhelm Müller (1925-2013), serves to support the African Music Archives (AMA), the Ethnographic Collection and the Jahn Library for African Literatures at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies (ifeas).