Short Portrait: Rolf Herzog

Rolf Herzog
Rolf Herzog

Rolf Herzog was born in Oppach/Upper Lusatia in 1919. He took up his studies of Anthropology at the Georg-August-University Göttingen in 1945, when the Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology was among the first to reopen after the end of World War II. Günther Spannaus was among his teachers.

Herzog graduated with a Ph D thesis on ethno-historical text sources of Northern Asia in 1949. One year later he took up an assistant position at the institute in Göttingen. Moreover, Herzog did some researches on nomadic people in Morocco and Algeria in 1951/52, accompanied by the geographer Horst Mensching.

Further field work was conducted by Herzog among the Nubians in Sudan between 1953 and 1955. The results of this research became the basis of his habilitation thesis, which Herzog completed in 1956.

Between 1958 and 1964 Herzog held a position at the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, being the advisor for Anthropology. During this period Herzog did further researches in several african countries, e.g. in Libya. He continuously deepened his knowledge about the social and economic structure of nomadic groups and did anthropological work upon their increasing settling.

Moreover, Herzog not only had a strong interest in Egyptology but also lay a regional focus on Asia and Oceania (e.g., his research on the Maori in New Zealand).

Herzog lectured at the Institute for Ethnology and African Studies in Munich (which was chaired by Hermann Baumann) in 1963. A year later Herzog took up a professorship at the newly founded Institute of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg. He chaired the institute until his retirement in 1987.

During his academic career Herzog twice chaired the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) and became its honorary member in 1995. Moreover, Herzog was member of the expert body for anthropology in the DFG and the German Foundation of Development Aid for many years.

Rolf Herzog died in 2006.

(Text written by Vincenz Kokot in June 2012, based on Seitz, Stefan, 2006, ZfE, ed. 131, pp. 167 - 169)

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