Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Europäische Ethnologie

Jonas Tinius, Ph.D.

Curriculum Vitae | Publications | Teaching
Jonas Tinius Ph.D.
Ehemalige Mitarbeiter/innen und Gäste
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Humboldt-Universität → Präsidium → Philosophische Fakultät → Institut für Europäische Ethnologie

nach Vereinbarung

  • Currently: Scientific Coordinator and Postdoctoral Researcher in Cultural Anthropology, ERC Minor Universality. Narrative World Constructions after Western Universalism (PI: Markus Messling), Saarland University (2020-2024)
  • Formerly: Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter (post-doc) at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMaH) in the research project „Making Differences in Berlin: 'Transforming Museums and Heritage in the 21st Century' (2016-2020)

  • Jonas Tinius is a cultural and social anthropologist, whose ethnographic research grapples with the tensions between art, migration, public institutions, and difficult heritage in Europe. He has conducted fieldwork in Germany, France, and Italy on institutionalised forms of cultural production (esp. theatres, museums, and art spaces), focusing on the reflexive agency of artistic cand curatorial work. His research is collaborative and extends into public, instigative, and multimodal fieldwork formats, such as curation and public programming. 

  • From 2016-2020, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH) in the Department of European Ethnology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, funded by Sharon Macdonald’s Alexander von Humboldt Professorship (2016-2020). ​As part of his research, he collaborated with artists and curators of art spaces and galleries in Berlin (among them SAVVY Contemporary, the ifa-gallery and the Wedding district gallery) to study and think about curatorial practices as forms of troubling of national, universal, and hegemonic narratives, especially against the backdrop of major museum transformations such as the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin City Castle. He is associate member of CARMAH at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, where he completes a habilitation, as part of which he completes a second book manuscript based on his postdoctoral research and teaches at the Department of European Ethnology.

  • From 2017-2020, he acted as founding convenor of the Anthropology and the Arts Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) together with Prof Roger Sansi. From 2017-2021, he has been founding coordinator with Dr Ruba Totah of the research section and co-founder of the PostHeimat Network on migrant theatre funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and founding member of the theatre and research collective Ruhrorter.

  • In 2020, he took up a position as postdoctoral researcher and scientific coordinator of the ERC project Minor Universality. Narrative World Constructions After Western Universality (PI: Prof Markus Messling), at Saarland University, as part of which he curates a residency, research, and exhibition programme in collaboration with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin. The multilingual research project investigates forms of world-making narratives that emerge out of and after the critique of the violent articulations of Western Universality. The project goes beyond narratives that resort to relativistic or identitarian claims, and focuses instead on concrete, situated narratives of humanity, world, justice, freedom that articulate themselves in "minor" forms of literature, architecture, curating, publishing and so on. We are editing the open-access book series Beyond Universalism / Partager l'universel and entertain a Youtube series of conversations with scholars, thinkers, and writers, which will be published in French, English, and German. 

  • ​He studied British and American Studies as well as Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Münster (Germany) before completing the Archaeology and Anthropology Tripos with a focus on Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge (2012). He continued to conduct doctoral fieldwork on a migrant-situated public theatre in the postindustrial Ruhr region and received his PhD (2016) for a study entitled State of the Arts. An Anthropology of German Theatre (under contract with Cambridge University Press)At King’s College and the Division of Social Anthropology, he was supervised by Prof James Laidlaw and received the William Wyse Scholarship. During his time in Cambridge, he was founding co-convenor of the Mellon-Newton-funded Cambridge Interdisciplinary Performance Network at the Centre for Research on the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH), and a research fellow at the theatre studies collection on Schloss Wahn, Institute of Theatre and Media, University of Cologne (Germany).

Selected publications 




  • Der Fremde Blick. Roberto Ciulli und das Theater an der Ruhr, edited with Alexander Wewerka. Berlin: Alexander Verlag. 
  • Across Anthropology. Troubling Colonial Legacies, Museums, and the Curatorial, edited with Margareta von Oswald. Leuven: Leuven University Press. (open-access)
  • ‘The recursivity of the curatorial’ (with Sharon Macdonald), in: Roger Sansi. Ed. The Anthropologist as Curator. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 35-58. [LINK]
  • ‘Phantom Palaces: Prussian Centralities and Humboldtian Horizontalities’ (with Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll), in: Jonathan Bach and Michal Murawski. Eds. Re-Centring the City. Global Mutations of Socialist Modernity. London: UCL Press. (Open-access), pp. 90–103. [LINK]   
  • Traces, Legacies, and Futures: A Conversation on Art and Temporality’ (with Nora-Al-Badri, Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Silvy Chakkalakal, Alya Sebti, and Jonas Tinius). Third Text Forum 01/2020. Open-access [LINK].


  • ‘Fieldnotes’, in: Post-Otherness Wedding / Unsustainable Privileges. Galerie Wedding – Space for Contemporary Art Berlin, edited by Solvej Helweg Ovesen and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung. Bielefeld / New York: Kerber, pp. 177–181. (LINK)
  • ‘Interstitial Agents: Negotiating Migration and Diversity in Theatre’, in: Bock, Jan-Jonathan and Sharon Macdonald. (eds) Refugees Welcome? Differences and Diversity in a Changing Germany. Oxford/New York: Berghahn Books, pp. 241–264. [LINK]
  • ‘Value, Correspondence, and Form: Recalibrating Scales for a Contemporary Anthropology of Art (Epilogue)’. Anthrovision. Journal of the Visual Anthropology Network of the Association of Social Anthropologists. 7(1). [LINK]



  • ‘Awkward Art and Difficult Heritage: Nazi Art Collectors and Postcolonial Archives’, in: Thomas Fillitz. Ed. An Anthropology of Contemporary Art: Practices, Markets, and Collectors. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 130– 145. [LINK]
  • ‘Artistic Diplomacy: On Civic Engagement and Transnational Theatre’, in: Breed, Ananda and Tim Prentki. (eds.) Performance and Civic Engagement. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 269-300. [LINK]


  • 'Art as ethical practice: anthropological observations on and beyond theatre'. World Art 7(2). Special issue on Aesthetics and Ethics. [LINK
  • 'Anthropological observations on artistic subjectivation and institutional reflexivity: the theatre project Ruhrorter with refugees at the Theater an der Ruhr', in: Matthias Warstat et al. (eds.) Applied Theatre - Frames and Positions. Berlin: Theater der Zeit, pp. 205-235. [LINK].
  • ‘Prekarität und Ästhetisierung: Reflexionen zu postfordistischer Arbeit in der freien Theaterszene’, in: Ove Sutter and Valeska Flor (eds.) Ästhetisierung der Arbeit. Kulturanalysen des kognitiven Kapitalismus. Münster: Waxmann, pp. 139–156. [LINK]

  • ‘The Porosity of Darkness: A Conversation on Architecture, Multimedia Arts, and the Venice Biennale’ (with Danish artist Kirstine Roeppstorff and curator of the Danish Pavilion Solvej Helweg Ovesen). Mousse Magazine. 13 September 2017. [LINK]

  • ‘Sparring Partners: An Introduction to the Gallery Reflections Series’, opening online column for ifa- gallery 2017-2018 one-year programme Untie to tie: Colonial Legacies and Contemporary Societies, ifa-Galerie, Berlin/Germany. [LINK]

  • ‘Bare Lives: A Conversation’ (Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Solvej Helweg Ovesen, Mario Rizzi, Jonas Tinius), in: Bare Lives, edited by Mario Rizzi, based on an exhibition curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and Solvej Helweg Ovesen.] Berlin: Archive books, pp. 68–75.

Selected talks (while at CARMAH)


  • Panel (as organiser): ‘The Future of Anthropological Representation: Contemporary Art and/in the Ethnographic Museum’. Chair and Convenor of Panel at Royal Anthropological Institute Major Conference ‘Art, Materiality, and Representation’, British Museum/SOAS, London/UK. 1-3 June 2018. [Link to CfP]
  • Lecture: Friedrich-Hölderlin-Gastvortrag in Allgemeiner und Vergleichender Theaterwissenschaft (invited): ‘‚Deep Hanging Out’: Über anthropologische Feldforschung und zeitgenössische Kunst’, Institut für Theater-, Film- und Medienwissenschaften, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main/Germany. 23 January 2018. [LINK
  • Ringvorlesung: ‘Je est un autre.’ Ein anthropologischer Blick auf Fiktion, Identität und Alterität in der darstellenden Kunst’, in: Ringvorlesung ‘Tiere, Maschinen und andere Menschen. Zur anthropologischen Kritik in den Künsten, Freie-Universität Berlin / Free University Berlin. 9 January 2018.


  • Public Dialogue: ‘Décolonisons nos réflexions/Decolonise our reflections’ (with Alya Sebti). Part of EHESS Art-Anthropology residency programme ‘Concrete Mirror’ by Alex Ungprateeb Flynn and Noara Quintana. La Colonie, Paris/France. 5 December 2017.

  • Workshop (as organiser): Ethnografisches (Be)Schreiben in den Künsten – Methodenerweiterung’, Sonderveranstaltung (Blockseminar) für Mittelbauangehörige des Instituts für Theaterwissenschaft, Fachbereich Philosophie und Geisteswissenschaften, Freie Universität Berlin/Germany, 26 November 2017.

  • Panelist: ‘Sie verlassen jetzt den künstlerischen Sektor, oder: Der Trend zur Nützlichkeit / You are now leaving the artistic sector, or: On the trend towards usefulness in art’. Mit ALICE CREISCHER [Künstlerin, Berlin], MARIA-SIBYLLA LOTTER [Philosophin, Universität Bochum], MICHAEL LÜTHY [Kunsthistoriker, Universität Weimar], JONAS TINIUS [Anthropologe, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin]. Im Rahmen des UdK- Einsteinprojekts Autonomie und Funktionalisierung. ACUD MACHT NEU, Berlin/Germany. 24 November 2017.

  • Presentation and chair: ‘Anthropology, Museums, and Diversity’. Diversity. Jahrestagung des Landesverbandes der Museen Berlin e.V., organised by Diversity.Arts.Culture – Berliner Projektbüro für Diversitätsentwicklung, Landesverband der Museen Berlin, and Museumsdienst Berlin. Märkisches Museum, Berlin/Germany. 20 November 2017.

  • Public Discussion (as organiser): ‘Gallery reflection # 3: Art and (New) Intersectional Feminisms’ (with Prof Alanna Lockward, Prof Kathy-Ann Tan, and Federica Bueti), ifa-Galerie Berlin, Berlin/Germany. 16 November 2017. [Link to video]

  • Lecture: ‘Back to the Future Heritage: On Palatial Space and Anthropological Collaboration’, Anthropology Department, University of Manchester, Manchester/UK. 13 November 2017.

  • Chair and discussant: Opening keynote speech and panel discussions with Dr Christina Johansson (Malmö University, Sweden), Léontine Meijer-van Mensch (Jewish Museum Berlin), and Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński (Vienna Academy of Fine Arts). Future Memories. Remembrance Culture(s) of Migration Society, three-day workshop in cooperation with the Centre for Metropolitan Studies (Technical University Berlin), W.M. Blumenthal Academy, Jewish Museum Berlin, Berlin/Germany. 26-28 September 2017.

  • Chair and discussant: Exhibition Cabinet of the Unknown / Cabinet d’Ignorance with curators Dr. Michael Korey (Dresden) and Ece Pazarbasi (International Fellow Curator, Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Istanbul/Berlin), Museum der Dinge/Museum of Things, Berlin-Kreuzberg, Germany. 25 September 2017.

  • Keynote: Ethnography of the Arts: Perspectives on Theatre and Beyond’. Ethnographie der Künste, Künste der Ethnographie. Summer School at Villa Arson, jointly organised by FU Berlin and Université Paris Ouest Nanterre, 17-24 September 2017, Nice/France.

  • Tagung: ‘Das Politische in der Kunst: Anthropologische Betrachtungen’, Sektion VIII: Kunst-Medien-Politik, geleitet von Prof Christian Grüny, ‘Die Phänomenologie und das Politische’, Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Phänomenologischen Forschung, Institut für Philosophie, FernUniversität in Hagen/Deutschland. 13-16. September 2017.

  • Seminar: ‘Anthropologie in/und/mit künstlerischer Praxis: Zur Ethnografie als Methode’. Eingeladener Beitrag im Workshop Aufführungsanalyse vs. Ethnographie? Zur Transdisziplinarität von Analysemethoden in der Theaterwissenschaft, Institut für Film-, Theater- und empirischer Kulturwissenschaft (IFTeK), Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Mainz/Germany. 13 September 2017.

  • Congress: ‘'The projectual and the contemporary: thinking about artistic precarity across time and space'. Work with/out borders. Precarity and the performing arts conference, organized by Prof Katharina Pewny et al., Performing Arts & Media, Department of Art Studies, Ghent University/Belgium. 18-19 March 2017.
  • Conference: ‘Ethnographic methods in theatre studies’. Methoden der Theaterwissenschaft, Konferenz organisiert von Prof Christopher Balme, Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, LMU Munich/Germany. 3-4 February 2017. 


  • Seminar: ‘Reviewer meets reviewed’ (with Dr Roger Sansi). Seminar at the British Museum, organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute, British Museum, London/UK, 17 November 2016.
  • Workshop:'Beobachter unter sich: ethnografisches Forschen in der Kunst'. cobratheater.cobra Netzwerktreffen, Uferstudios für zeitgenössischen Tanz Berlin, 23-25 September 2016.
  • Conference: ‘Cultivating character: detachment in theatre and German society’. Anthropology of Character conference organised by Dr Adam Reed. Department of Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews/Scotland. 1-2 September 2016.
  • Conference (discussant): 'The Art of Slowing Down' (P086), at EASA 2016 (Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists), Milan/Italy, 20-23 July 2016.
  • Podiumsdiskussion: 'Kultur und Flucht - Möglichkeitsräume in der Krise?' mit Oliver Keymis (Landtagsvizepräsident NRW), Helmut Schäfer (Dramaturg, Theater an der Ruhr), Ulle Schauws (MdB, Sprecherin Kulturpolitik, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Theater an der Ruhr, Mülheim, 28 Juni 2016, 19.00h. (Link)
  • Conference: ‘Appropriating Universal Centrality: Containing the World in Berlin’s new Humboldt Forum’ (with Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Oxford). ‘The Centre Cannot Hold’? New Monumentality, Neo-Modernism and Other Zombie Urban Utopias conference hosted by the UCL SSEES FRINGE Centre, The Calvert 22 Gallery, and the UCL School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, Calvert 22 Gallery London/ UK, organised by Dr Michal Murawski (UCL) and Dr Jonathan Bach (New School, NYU), 10-11 June 2016.
  • Conference: ‘Rehearsing conduct and gesture: notes on art as ethical practice’. The Ethics of Gesture conference organised by Dr Lucia Ruprecht at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge/UK. 16 April 2016. Keynote: Prof Rebecca Schneider (Brown/USA).
  • Conference: ‘Engaging art: urban diversity, public institutions, and the ‘refugee crisis’’. Experiencing Difference and Diversity in Contemporary Germany conference organised by Prof Sharon Macdonald and Dr Jan-Jonathan Bock. Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt University of Berlin/Germany. 14-16 April 2016.
  • Seminar (chair): ‘On Detachment and Relations’. Chaired discussion with Prof Hallvard Lillehammer (Philosophy, Birkbeck) and Dr Matei Candea (Anthropology, Cambridge) at the Centre for Research of the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH), Cambridge/UK. 25 April 2016.


  • Workshop (co-organiser): Re-Theorising the Avant-Garde Today: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Co-convened with Prof Georgina Born (Music & Anthropology, Oxford) and Dr Chris Haworth (Music, Oxford). King’s College, University of Cambridge/UK. 12-13 December 2015. Keynote: Prof Branden W. Joseph (Art History, Columbia, NY/USA).


  • In January 2018, I joined the editorial board of the peer-reviewed interdisciplinary anthropology journal World Art and I became a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.

  • Since 2017, Roger Sansi and I convene the Anthropology and the Arts Network (ANTART) within the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA). The objective of the ANTART Network is to advance the scholarship, discussion, and presence of anthropological approaches to the arts. It also seeks to build on its existing network of scholars, artists, and institutions to continue its exchanges with alternative cultural production venues in future EASA locations, thus building links between the university and other public or civil society initiatives.

  • In October 2014, I launched the independent Anthropologies of Art Network [A/A] with Dr Alex Flynn (Anthropology, Durham), which seeks to bridge the gap between artistic practice and ethnographic investigation, focusing on theory-building in contemporary art. Our inaugural conference took place at the University of Durham (‘Contemporary Anthropologies of Art’) in September 2015 with keynote speaker Prof Arnd Schneider (Anthropology, Oslo).

  • Since 2013, I have been accompanying the refugee theatre and arts collective Ruhrorterand document their projects and rehearsals. I am currently preparing a book chapter for Theater der Zeit on the aesthetics of the project, and have written about it in this special issue. The project has been based at the Theater an der Ruhr and has been funded by the Federal Government of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Fonds Soziokultur, and Interkultur Ruhr.

  • Between 2013 and 2016, I was founding co-convenor of the Mellon/Newton-funded Cambridge Interdisciplinary Performance Network based at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH). Through bi-weekly seminars and through three major conferences, we explored the concept of ‘performance’ as a way to stimulate interdisciplinary conversations between scholars and artists on topics like visuality and archives, the digital future, city life and the public sphere. The seminar series 2015/2016 focused the theme InterActivity: Performing Relations with an opening talk by Prof Martin Puchner (Harvard). An interesting example for one of our sessions has been published recently: “Art and anthropology after relations”. A Conversation between Roger Sansi and Marilyn Strathern. HAU – The Journal of Ethnographic Theory. Vol. 6, No. 2 (2016).