Short Portrait: Claus Deimel

Claus Deimel
Claus Deimel

Claus Deimel was born in Hamburg, march 12, 1948. His father was an artist. He studied Anthropology, Sociology, and Political Sciences in Frankfurt/Main and Heidelberg.

In 1973 he started his first field research with the Tarahumara Indians (Rarámuri) in the Sierra Madre Occidental in Northern Mexico.
In 1979 he finished his Ph.D. at the Institut für Historische Ethnologie in Frankfurt/Main.

Since then he continued his research with the Rarámuri until today. The results of his yearly travels are published in several monographic books, articles, and documentary films, eg. Tarahumara. Indianer im Norden Mexikos, 1980; Die rituellen Heilungen der Tarahumara, 1996; Die Peyoteriten der Tarahumara, 1997; nawésari – Texte aus der Sierra Tarahumara, 2001.

His special fields of interests are ethno-medicine, ethno-botany, nutrition, religion, and ceremonies in the course of the year. Besides Mexico, his research is concerned with Afro-American cultures and the Canadian North-West-Coast.

Deimel has been working for the anthropological museum in Hamburg (1980-84), the Überseemuseum Bremen (1985-87), and the Detlefsen-Museum in Glückstadt (1990-92), before in 1992 he started working as a curator in the anthropological department of the Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum Hannover.

In 2001 he became director of the GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig. Since 2004 he is head of the Staatliche Ethnographische Sammlungen Sachsen, which comprises the anthropological museums in Leipzig, Dresden, and in Herrnhut. In 2010 he also became associate director of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

Additionally, he has been teaching at the universities of Hannover and Leipzig.

From 1988 to 1992 he was one of the editors of Curare, J. of Medical Anthropology. Since 2004 he is member of the advisory board of the ethno-medical association AGEM (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Ethnomedizin).

(text by courtesy of Alke Dohrmann/Leipzig (via Ekkehard Schröder, Jan 24th 2013); photo source: