Short Portrait: J. Christoph Winter

J. Christoph Winter
J. Christoph Winter

Prof. Dr. em Christoph Winter as born in East Prussia in 1938. At the end of World War II his family had to flee and eventually resettled in a small village in Lower Saxony. There he attended primary school until the family moved to Frankfurt/Main in 1950. Winter developed an early interest in foreign languages and cultures as well as in literature and history. In 1958 he finished school.

Winter began to study law at the University in Cologne, but also took courses on arabic and african languages. Eventually Winter chose African Studies to be his second major subject. Oswin Köhler, both an Africanist and a Linguist, was his main teacher. Winter also attended lectures by Helmut Petri and Enno Beuchelt.

In 1963 Winter did his first state examination. Furthermore, he deepened his knowledge of african languages (e.g., Swahili) and took part in a field research project in Tanzania in 1964/65. During this time Winter collected a wide range of data, e.g., on the customary laws of several ethnic groups.

Between 1966 and 1969 Winter studied at the Institute of Social Anthropology in Oxford, where E.E. Evans-Pritchard was among his teachers. After finishing his diploma, Winter eventually completed his Bachelor of Letters in Oxford with a thesis about the work of Bruno Gutman.

After his return to Germany, Winter completed his PhD in law in 1970. During the following years he did further field researches in Africa (e.g., the Kilimanjaro region). In 1975 Winter took up an assistant position at the Institute for African Studies in Cologne and eventually began to write his habilitation thesis. He graduated on 1978.

In 1979 Winter took up a professorship for African Studies at the Department of Anthropology in Bayreuth. Within the next decades he not only gave numerous lectures on a wide range of topics (e.g., on Social Anthropology, Ethnohistorie and kinship) but did further researches in Africa between 1983 and 1997 (e.g., in Tanzania and Kenia). He retired in 2003.

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