Short Portrait: Jürgen Jensen

Jürgen Jensen
Jürgen Jensen

Prof. Dr. em. Jürgen Jensen was born in Berlin in 1938. His parents had moved there from Hamburg and his father worked as an accountant for a wholesale company. Jensens childhood mostly took place during World War II and after 1945 the family was faced with a difficult economic situation in the divided city of Berlin.

Already at the age of fifteen Jensen was very interested in finding out about other cultures. He was reading an enormous amount of books, made drawings and took his own notes. He also regularly visiting the Ethnographic Museum in his hometown. After finishing school 1957, Jensen start to study Anthropology, Geography and History in his hometown. Sigrid Westphal-Hellbusch, Wolfgang Rudolph, Gerd Kutscher and several custodians of the Ethnographic Museum were among his teachers. As a university student Jensen developed an interest in Social Anthropology as well as in Cultural Anthropology and took courses concerning all World Regions.

In 1965 Jensen graduated with a thesis on working culture in Buganda, which was the starting point of his regional focus on Eastern Africa. From 1966 -68 he did a field research about cultural change on the Buvuma Islands of Buganda; this project was financed by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). In 1969 he took up an assistant position in Hamburg at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology. He started giving academic lectures and actively contributed to the expansion of the newly-founded Institute.

In 1978 Jensen finished his habilitation thesis and worked at the Institute in Hamburg until his retirement. He always advocated a broad theoretical overview and emphasized the importance of both field researches and the work of anthropologists in museums.

further informationfurther information