Short Portrait: Bernt Glatzer

Bernt Glatzer
Bernt Glatzer

Bernt Glatzer (* 1942) graduated in 1972, after studying at the South Asia Institute (Section Cultural and Social Anthropology) of the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg. Karl Jettmar was among his teachers. Glatzers Ph D thesis, published in 1977, was based on the field work he conducted about nomadism in Afghanistan in 1970/71.

Between 1975 and 1977 Glatzer carried out a scientific research project on ecology and pastoral economy in Western Afghanistan. Moreover, Glatzer worked at the South Asia Institute in Heildeberg until 1989, after being head chairman of its branch in Islamabad, Pakistan, between 1982 and 1984.

Due to the war starting in Afghanistan in 1979, Glatzer was not able to continue his research but returned to the country after the end of the russian occupation. Between 1990 and 1994 he held a position at the Danish NGO DACAAR. He not only supported the development aid in Western and Southeastern Afghanistan but kept working as an ethnologist. Moreover, Glatzer was expert advisor for German development aid organizations such as GTZ for many years.

Between 1994 and 2000 Glatzer was member of the academic staff at the Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin. There he purchased his research projects about political conflicts as well as on locality, ethnicity and Islam. Moreover, Glatzer was member of the scientific association AGA (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Afghanistan), which he chaired from 2001 until 2007.

After working at the department for Asia at the development aid organization INWENT, Glatzer retired in 2006. He continued his research on Afghanistan and worked on a publication about the history and society of this country.

Bernt Glatzer died in Schriesheim in 2009.

(Text written by Vincenz Kokot in July 2012, based on an obituary by Conrad Schetter, published at:; photo source: