Short Portrait: Hans-Peter Duerr

Hans-Peter Duerr
Hans-Peter Duerr

Prof. Dr. em. Hans Peter Duerr was born in Mannheim in 1943, where he also grew up. He developed an early interest in other cultures and after finishing school in 1963, he began to study at the Institute for Sociology and Ethnology in Heidelberg, where mainly W.E. Mühlmann, Karl Jettmar, Ulla Johansen, Lorenz Löffler and E.W. Müller were teaching.

Duerr and several of his fellow students participated in the political developments of the late 1960´s and saw himself as opposed to the older generation of their teachers, while also keeping a critical view on the 68-movement. After studying in Vienna for a while he returned to Heidelberg and finished his graduation thesis in 1971. Eventually Duerr moved to Berlin for a year.

Between 1975 and 1978 Duerr was giving academic lectures at the universities in Zürich, Bern and Kassel. In 1978 his book »Traumzeit« was published and became a major success. Duerr not only was influenced by the theories of Paul Feyerabend but also brought topics like the irrational (back) into the scientific discourse.

In 1981 Duerr completed his habilitation thesis in Kassel, became a visiting professor at the University of Fine Arts in Kassel and published several books during the following years concerning various themes.

In 1991 he was appointed to a professorship at the University in Bremen, where he was teaching and researching until his retirement in 1999. His regional interest focussed on Northern America and Indonesia, but also included some archaeological research on the island Rungholt.