Short Portrait: Johannes Fabian

Johannes Fabian
Johannes Fabian

Johannes Fabian was born in Glogau (now: Poland) in 1937.

After finishing school in 1956, Fabian took up his studies in Bonn as well as in St. Gabriel/Mödling near Vienna. At the latter Paul Schebesta was among his teachers. Fabian not only studied Philosophy and Theology but also Anthropology, Linguistics and History of Religions. In 1962 Fabian moved to Munich, where he studied Anthropology, Sociology and Early History.

In 1963 Fabian continued his studies of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. He finished his MA in 1965 and completed his PhD thesis in 1969. Since 1968 he had been lecturing Northwestern University in Chicago, where he eventually took up an assistant position at the Department of Anthropology.

In 1973 Fabian took up a professorship at the University in Zaire and became dean of the Department for Sociology and Anthropology. A year later he returned to the U.S. and held a professorship for Anthropology at the Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, until 1979. Since 1980 Fabian is head chairman of the Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University in Amsterdam.

Throughout his career Fabian not only did several field researches (e.g., on religious movements in Zaire and Kongo) and held a number of visiting professorships (e.g., in Bonn, Cologne, Paris) but also participated in several research programs on ethnolinguistic matters. Moreover, Fabian wrote various critical books (e.g., Time and the Other) that had a strong impact on the scientific discourse about the anthropologist´s role both in researching and writing.
(This text based on Alsayad/Seiler (eds.) 2005: Ethnologen-Lexikon. Berlin: WeißenseeVerlag, by courtesy of WeißenseeVerlag and Sibylle Alsayad)

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