Alban von Stockhausen was born on 21. June 1978 near Stuttgart in Southern Germany. Together with his wife, the anthropologist Marion Wettstein and their children Anaïs (born 2009) and Anselm Ada (born 2013), he is based in Bern, Switzerland. At Bernisches Historisches Museum, he works as Curator (Asia, Oceania, Europe and Ancient Egypt) for the Ethnographic Collection.


  • 2013 – 2014
    Academic Expert (AE) “Image Science” (Courses “Exhibition Development” and “Digital Collection Management”).
    Department for Arts and Image Science, Danube University Krems, Austria.
  • 2007-2011, 2014
    Dr. phil in Social and Cultural Anthropology. Dissertation thesis title: Imag(in)ing the Nagas: The Pictorial Ethnography of Hans-Eberhard Kauffmann and Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michael Oppitz, Berlin and Prof. Dr. Annegret Nippa, Leipzig. Completed (summa cum laude) in November 2011. Published in 2014. More information…
  • 2007
    Licentiatus Philosophiae (Master of Arts), University of Zürich.
  • 1999-2007
    Studies of Cultural Anthropology, Comparative Science of Religions and Eastern Asian History of Art at the University of Zürich.
  • 1989-1997
    Secondary education at Georg-Büchner-Gymnasium, Winnenden (Germany) and Sutton Park School, Dublin (Ireland). Leaving Certificate of the Dep. of Education, Ireland.

Selected Work Experience / Research Projects

  • Since June 2015
    Curator for Ethnography (Asia, Oceania, Europe and Ancient Egypt) at Bernisches Historisches Museum, Bern, Switzerland.
  • Since April 2015
    Archive Consultant at CIRDIS (Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Documentation of Inner and South Asian Cultural History)/Himalayan Archive Vienna. University of Vienna, Austria.
  • Since 2016
    Editorial Board Member, Academic Journal “SHAMAN”, Molnár & Kelemen Oriental Publishers, ISSN 1216-7827.
  • Since 2015
    Scientific committee member, ISARS (International Society for Academic Research on Shamanism).
  • Oct. 2011 – Sept. 2016
    PostDoctoral Researcher / Sub-Project Leader of the three-year research project “Ritual, Space, Mimesis among the Rai of Eastern Nepal” lead by Prof. Dr. Martin Gaenszle. Financed by the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF), based at the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies of the University of Vienna. Affiliated with the Center for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS) of Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu. More information…
  • Sept. 2013, Sept. 2014
    Short research visits to (Southern) China in preparation of future research projects.
  • Oct. 2010 – Nov. 2012
    Long term field research in Nepal focussed on the relations between ritual and landscape among the Dumi Rai of Eastern Nepal. Affiliated with the Center for Nepal and Asian Studies (CNAS) of Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu.
  • 2006-2010
    Scientific Staff / Sub-Project Leader of the research project “Material Culture, Oral Tradition and Identity among the Naga of Northeast India” lead by Prof. Michael Oppitz. Financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). More information…
  • 2009-2010
    Project Consultant of the Fürer-Haimendorf Archive Digitisation Project at SOAS, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Website
  • 2001-2009
    Part-time administrative, technical and scientific assistant at the Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zürich (VMZ), Switzerland, responsible for database and multimedia matters as well as assistant positions in exhibition, research and publication projects of the museum.
  • 2007
    Digitisation of the photographic materials of Hans-Eberhard Kauffmann, stored at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology of the ‘Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität’, Munich.
  • Since 2006
    Documentation of Dumi ritual language.
  • Since 2003
    Repeated field-research in Northeast India. Anthropological research and documentation on the Naga.
  • Since 2001
    Repeated field-research in Nepal. Anthropological research and documentation of the shamanistic tradition and rituals of the Dumi Kirat Rai.
  • 1997-2001
    Various internships and work experiences in media and other institutions, among them: “Medienwerkstatt Stuttgart-Neugereut”; “Freies Radio Stuttgart”; “Arsenfilm GmbH”, Zürich; “Zeitungsverlag Waiblingen ZVW”; “Swissair Sabena Airline Partnership”, Zürich; “Arbeiterwohlfahrt”, Winnenden.

Ethnographic Exhibition Projects / Museum related Work

  • Since June 2015
    Curator for Ethnography (Asia, Oceania, Europe and Ancient Egypt) at Bernisches Historisches Museum, Bern, Switzerland.
  • Spring 2014
    Identification and description of objects related to the Nagas of Northeast India -for the museum database and exhibition preparation. Museum of World Cultures, Barcelona.
  • August 2012
    Curator of the exhibition ‘Postcards and Beyond: The Mukunda Bahadur Shrestha Photo Collection’. In cooperation with Nepal (Nepal Picture Library) and Siddharta Gallery, Kathmandu, Nepal. More information…
  • 2002-2009, 2012, 2013
    Co-curator of the exhibition ‘Naga: Schmuck und Asche’ (engl. ‘Naga: Beads and Ashes’), a project on the Naga of Northeast India at the Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zürich (VMZ), Switzerland, in cooperation with the Museum of Ethnology (new: Weltmuseum) Vienna, Austria. (Zürich 7. Jun 2008 – 9. Sept 2009. More information and photographs…

    Feb-July 2012
    Shown in an adapted version at the Museum of Ethnology (new: Weltmuseum), Vienna. More information and photographs…

    April 26. 2013 – September 16, 2013
    Shown in an adapted version under the title ‘Fiercely Modern: Art of the Naga Warrior’ at the Rubin Museum of Art, New York. More information…
  • May 2010
    Concert and exhibition event ‘Le voce dei Naga in Onsernone’, in Mosogno, Switzerland (23.5.). More information and press release…
  • Jan-Mar 2009
    Multimedia installation (Film & Photographs) ‘Fashion in Nagaland’, as part of the exhibition ‘Naga, a Forgotten Mountain Region Rediscovered’, Museum der Kulturen, Basel, Switzerland.
  • Dec 2008
    Multimedia Installation (Film) ‘Christmas in Nagaland’, as part of the exhibition ‘Naga, a Forgotten Mountain Region Rediscovered’, Museum der Kulturen, Basel, Switzerland.
  • 2007-2008
    Supervising tutor and co-curator of the exhibition ‘Wege ins Jenseits: Eine kulturvergleichende Spurensuche im Diesseits’. Showcased in the historical cloister of the Grossmünster Zürich and as a virtual exhibition online. In collaborations with the Institute for Comparative Science of Religions and the Theological Institute of the University of Zürich. More info (in german)…
  • 2001-2009
    As part-time administrative, technical and scientific assistant at the Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zürich (VMZ), Switzerland, among others, contributions to the following exhibitions:
  • 2007-2008
    ‘Trommeln der Schamanen’, Curator: Prof. Dr. Michael Oppitz (research, audioguide, etc.)
  • 2005-2006
    ‘The 14 Dalai Lama: Tibetan Reincarnations of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara’, german title: ‘Die 14 Dalai Lamas: Tibets Reinkarnationen des Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara’, Curator: PD Dr. Martin Brauen (film editing of Heinrich Harrers “7 years in Tibet” raw materials for display within the exhibition, audioguide, internet, side events, etc.)
  • 2005-2006
    ‘Other worlds’, german title: ‘Jenseitswelten: von Geistern, Schiffen und Liebhabern’, curator: Marion Wettstein et al. (multimedia and research assistant, guided tours, etc.). Radio interview on the exhibition (in german)…
  • 2004-2005
    ‘Majesty and Magnificence at the Court of Menilek: Alfred Ilg’s Ethiopia around 1900’, german title: ‘Prunk und Pracht am Hofe Menileks: Alfred Ilgs Äthiopien um 1900’, curator: Elisabeth Biasio (image database programming and multimedia terminal programming)
  • 2003-2004
    ‘Bamboo in old Japan’, german title: ‘aufrecht biegsam leer: Bambus im alten Japan’, curator: PD Dr. Martin Brauen (multimedia, audioguide, side events, etc.)
  • 2001-2002
    ‘Robert Powell: Himalayan Drawings’, german title: ‘Robert Powell: Zeichnungen aus dem Himalaya’, curator: Prof. Dr. Michael Oppitz (guided tours, administration and logistics)
  • 2004-2005
    Co-Curator of the exhibition: ‘Gefässe für das Heilige, Indische Gegenstände reden von Religion’. (Ethnographic Museum of Zürich University, see above)

Public Talks / Conference Papers / Conference Panels

(* invited)

  • upcoming
    28. Feb. 2019, New Delhi (India)*
    Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research. Conference Keynote: “Visuality, Materiality, and the formation of ethnic identities in Northeast India”. Interdisciplinary Conference “Materiality and Visuality in North East India”.
  • upcoming
    20. Dec. 2018, Bern (Switzerland)*
    Haus der Religionen. Vortrag ‘Asiatisch-Ozeanische Ahnenkulte’, im Rahmen der Ringvorlesung zur Ausstellung “ENDLICH  Religion + Tod”.
  • 26.-27. May 2018, Davos (Switzerland)*
    Japan-Festival ‘JapAniManga Night 2018’. Kongresszentrum Davos.
    Lectures/Workshop: ‘Von Geishas, Samurai und der Liebe zu Japan: Einblicke in die Kunstgeschichte Japans’.
  • 9. May 2018, Cologne (Germany)*
    KOLUMBA Museum Köln, in Kooperation mit a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities & Global South Studies Center GSSC, Universität zu Köln, Kunsthochschule für Medien, Köln und dem Allerweltskino Köln. Ringvorlesung “Medien der Fremderfahrung, Grenzerkundungen zur Ausstellung »Michael Oppitz. Bewegliche Mythen«”. Vortrag “Die Gegenwärtigkeit des verborgenen Raums: Erkundungen zu Ritual und Topographie im Schamanismus Ostnepals”.
  • 23. Jan. 2018, London (UK)*
    Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (RAS). Lecture: ‘Images and (Post)colonial Encounters: A history of the visual representation of the Nagas of Northeast India’. Podcast…
  • 1. Dec. 2017, Hanoi (Vietnam)
    Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (Hanoi). ISARS Conference 2017 ‘Expanding Boundaries: Ethnicity, Materiality and Spirituality’. Paper: ‘Curating the Immaterial: Museums, Theme Parks, and the Visibility of Shamanic Practices in Eastern Nepal’.
  • 12. May 2017, Vienna (Austria)*
    University of Vienna, Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Documentation of Inner and South Asian Cultural History (CIRDIS). Workshop ‘Kiranti Language and Culture in a Comparative Perspective’. Paper: ‘Eternalising one’s Name: Comparing Rituals of Status between Eastern Nepal and Northeast India’.
  • 6. May 2017, Zürich/Schaffhausen (Switzerland)
    University of Zürich, Institute of Art History; Museum Rietberg; Moser Familienmuseum Charlottenfels. Conference ‘A l’Orientale – Collecting, Displaying and Appropriating Islamic Art and Architecture in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries’. Paper: ‘The Henri Moser Collection at Bernisches Historisches Museum’.
  • 8. February 2017, Melbourne (Australia)*
    LaTrobe University (LTU), 3rd Workshop of the International Consortium for Eastern Himalayan Ethnolinguistic Prehistory (ICEHEP). Paper: “‘Chamdam’ as a Feast of Merit: Comparing Status Rituals of the Dumi Rai of Eastern Nepal and the Ao Naga of Northeast India”. Co-authored and presented with Marion Wettstein.
  • 4. November 2016, Paris (France)*
    Musée du Quai Branly / Université de Paris Panthéon Sorbonne & Vincennes-Saint-Denis. Journée d’étude “L’ethnologie en images: collecter, classer, publier”. Talk: “Images, Impacts and Identities: The ‚archival’ history of the Nagas of Northeast India“.
  • 5. August 2016, Kathmandu (Nepal)*
    Kirat Rai Academic Council. Talk: “Topics and Methodology in Dumi Rai Mundhum Research”.
  • 5. May 2016, Vienna (Austria)*
    University of Vienna, Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies. Nepal Symposium. Paper: ‘Digitale Jenseitswege und die Archivierbarkeit von Ritualen: Dokumentations- und Archivierungsstrategien in der Erforschung ritueller Landschaften Ostnepals’.
  • 28. April 2016, Halle (Germany)*
    Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Regionalstudien. Ringvorlesung „museum 4.0 – herausforderungen an kulturelles erbe in der digitalen welt“. Vortrag “Digitale Archive und deren Nutzung als Primärquellen in der ethnologischen Forschung: Das Beispiel der Naga Nordostindiens”
  • 19. March 2016, Zurich (Switzerland)
    University of Zurich, Institute for Art History, Section of East Asian Art. International Symposium: Katagami in the West. Paper: ‘The Katagami Collection of the Bernisches Historisches Museum’
  • 24. Nov. 2015, Bern (Switzerland)*
    Institutskollquium am Institut für Sozialanthropologie der Universität Bern. Vortrag ‘Verborgene Quellen neu erschlossen: Die ethnografische Sammlung am Bernischen Historischen Museum’
  • 12. Oct. 2015, Delphi (Greece)
    ISARS Conference 2015 ‘Sacred Landscapes and Conflict Transformation. History, Space, Place and Power in Shamanism’.
    Paper: ‘Visualising the Ancestral World: Digital Ethnography and the study of Ritual Landscapes among the Rai of Eastern Nepal’.
  • 24. Sept. 2014, Beijing (China)*
    ISTAI Symposium 2014. Panel on (Digital) Cultural Heritage Protection, related to a planned project on the protection of Naxi Dongba Manuscripts.
    Paper: ‘Digital Archives as Primary Sources in Social and Cultural Anthropology: A case study of the ‘digital presence’ of the Naga tribes of Northeast India’.
  • 22. Sept. 2014, Beijing (China)*
    Minzu University of China, Institute of Global Ethnology and Anthropology (IGEA).
    Lecture: ‘Surveying the Ancestral World: Contemporary Studies on Ritual Speech and Sacred Landscapes among the Rai of Eastern Nepal’.
  • 24. August 2014, Ascona (Switzerland)*
    ERANOS Tagung ‘Der heilige Berg’.
    Vortrag: ‘Ritual und Raum im Schamanismus Ostnepals’.
    More info…
  • 26. July 2014, Zurich (Switzerland)
    23rd European Conference on South Asian Studies University of Zurich (Switzerland).
    – Co-Convenor of Panel P28: ‘Public displays of ethnic identity in Nepal’.
    – Paper presented: ‘New ritual landscapes and the formation of Rai ethnic identity in Eastern Nepal’.
    More info…
  • 4. to 5. April 2014, Vienna (Austria)
    Workshop: ‘Kiranti Culture in Contemporary Nepal’. Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies (ISTB), University of Vienna.
    – Co-Convenor of the workshop.
    – Paper presented: ‘Walking with the ancestors: New approaches to the study of ritual landscapes in Eastern Nepal’.
    More info…
  • 31.10. to 1. 11. 2013, New Delhi (India)*
    Conference ‘History Through Images: Exploring the visual landscape of Northeast India’. Nehru Memorial and Museum Library. New Delhi, India. Paper: ‘Images and Policies: Pictorial documentations as a mirror of political decision-making and infrastructure in the Naga Hills’.
  • 27.9. 2013, Aarhus (Denmark)
    Conference ‘Ethnicity and Religion’. Aarhus University.
    Paper (co-authored with Martin Gaenszle and Marion Wettstein): ‘The appropriation of ritual landscape and the formation of Rai ethnic identity in Nepal’. More info…
  • 7. September 2013, Guiyang (China)
    The 11th Conference of the International Society for Shamanistic Research. Guizhou Normal College, Guiyang.
    Panel: Dealing with Violence, Conflict, Repression and Suffering in Shamanism.
    Paper title: Between the Claims of Local Gods and Global Lifestyles: A case Study of a Shamans Personal Struggle in Eastern Nepal. (co-authored with Marion Wettstein)
  • 7. August 2013, Manchester (UK)
    IUAES 2013: Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds; 17th World Congress of the IUAES.
    Panel: ‘Photography as mediation of anthropological knowledge’.
    Paper title: ‘The Visual Heritage of the Nagas: An Experimental Study on the Visual Anthropology of Vanished Cultural Practices’.
  • 4.-6. July 2013, Vienna (Austria)
    Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies of the University of Vienna, Austrian Academy of Sciences (Institute for Social Anthropology and Phonogrammarchiv), Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR): International Conference – Negotiating Ethnicity: Politics and Display of Cultural Identities in Northeast India. Chair of panel 5:
    ‘Display and Performance of cultural identities in Northeast India; Art and medias’. Call for Papers (PDF). Paper Presented:
    ‘Watlong – the story of the Naga Queen and its variations’ (Panel: Panel 13: ‘Narratives, myths, and oral traditions’).
  • 6.11.2012, Lalitpur (Nepal)*
    UNESCO and Nepal Picture Library: The State of Nepal’s Photo Archives, One-Day Symposium. Yalamaya Kendra, Patan Dhoka, Nepal. Paper presented ‘The Fürer-Haimendorf Photo Collection: Experiences and Implications of an Online Archiving Project’. Read more.
  • 11.8.2012, Kathmandu (Nepal)*
    Siddhartha Gallery Kathmandu. Exhibition Postcards and Beyond: The Mukunda Bahadur Shrestha Photo Collection. Paper presented ‘Time Capsules of Knowledge: Photographic Archives : Treasure Boxes for Anthropology?’.
  • 21.7.2012, Kathmandu (Nepal)
    The Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, Britain-Nepal Academic Council and Social Science Baha: Annual Kathmandu Conference on Nepal and the Himalaya. Co-Organisation of the Panel: Contemporary Studies on Ritual Performance and Ethnic Identity among the Rai of Eastern Nepal. Paper presented: ‘Walking with the Ancestors: Ritual Speech and Sacred Landscapes among the Rai of Eastern Nepal’. Read panel and paper abstract.
  • 5.4.2012, New Delhi (India)*
    Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA) Conference 2012, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi: ‘Framing the Colonial Encounter?: A discussion of Non-British pictorial sources of the Naga created during colonial times’. Read abstract.
  • 15.3.2012, Vienna (Austria)*
    Museum für Völkerkunde Wien / Museum of Ethnology Vienna: ‘Die Naga in der Photographie der 1930er Jahre: Eine Ethnographie in Bildern’.
  • 25.8.2010, Basel (Switzerland)*
    Schweizerisch-Indische Gesellschaft: ‘Was von den Kopfjägern übrig blieb: die Naga Nordostindiens im 21. Jahrhundert’.
  • 16.12.2009, Cambridge (UK)
    World Oral Literature Project Workshop, CRASSH, University of Cambridge: ‘Reciting Landscape: Documenting Ritual Journeys and Landscape among the Dumi Rai of eastern Nepal’. Watch video podcast.
  • 30.10.2009, London (UK)
    SOAS, University of London. The Fürer-Haimendorf Archive Online Launch Event: ‘Using the Fürer-Haimendorf photographs in field research in Nagaland’.
  • 14.1.2009, New Delhi (India)*
    Conference: Writing the Northeast, New Perspectives. CHS, Jawaharlal Nehru University: Naga: lineages of a term.
  • 9.10.2008, Zurich (Switzerland)
    Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich: Die Naga in der Fotografie der 1930er Jahre.
  • 10.9.2008, Basel (Switzerland)*
    Museum der Kulturen Basel: Visuelle Repräsentation der Naga im Westen.
  • 5.6. 2008, Munich (Germany)*
    Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde: Die Naga Nordostindiens: Identitätskonzepte zwischen Kopfjagd und Baptismus.
  • 17.1. 2008, Guwahati (India)
    Conference ‘Northeast India and its transnational Neighbourhood’, IIT: ‘How to represent the Naga in Europe?’ (with Marion Wettstein)
  • 22.10.2007, Munich (Germany)*
    Oberseminar des Instituts für Ethnologie und Afrikanistik der Ludwig-Maximilians Universität: ‘Die Naga Nordostindiens: Identitätskonzepte zwischen Kopfjagd und Baptismus, work in progress’.
  • 26.11.2006, Grossheppach (Germany)*
    Charlotte von Gaisberg-Stiftung. Schamanen im Kampf: Ethnographische Beobachtungen in Ostnepal.
  • 8.6.2006, Zurich (Switzerland)
    (with Chatur Bhakta Dumi Rai): Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zürich. The Dumi-Rai: An Ethnographic Journey in Eastern Nepal.
  • 31.5.2005, Berne (Switzerland)
    Institute for Ethnology of the University of Berne. Qualitative Datenanalyse
  • 21.9.2004, Kohima / Jotsoma (India)*
    (with Marion Wettstein). Jotsoma Science College, Nagaland. Ethnographic Research in European Universities and the Reception of Culture.


  • 21. April 2016
    University of Zürich, Religionswissenschaftliches Seminar. Gastvortrag “Jenseitswege und Ahnentopographie: Zum Totenritual der Dumi Rai in Ostnepal”, im Rahmen der Vorlesung “Todesrituale” (Prof. Dorothea Lüddeckens).
  • since 2016
    Lecture series (with Marion Wettstein) introducing topics and methodology of Social and Cultural Anthropology, and Comparative Science of Religions – advanced vocational training for medical doctors, psychologists and social workers. DITP Dresden, Germany.
    2018: ‘The structure of myth: from Vladimir Propp via Georges Dumézil and Claude Lévi-Strauss to Michael Oppitz’
    2017: ‘Headhunting: myth, meaning and practice – ethnographic examples from Asia and the Pacific’
    2016: ‘Anthropological approaches to ritual – examples from the Himalaya’
  • 23. May 2015
    Humboldt-University Berlin, Institute of Asian and African Studies (Central Asian Seminar). Block-Seminar ‘Using Visual Sources for Qualitative Research’ (with Prof. Toni Huber).
  • 22. May 2015
    Humboldt-University Berlin, Institute of Asian and African Studies (Central Asian Seminar). Block-Seminar ‘Shamans and Neo-Shamans in Asia / Autonomous Ritual Specialists in the Central Asian region’ (with Prof. Toni Huber).
  • March – June 2014
    University of Vienna, Department for South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies. Proseminar ‘Rituelle Landschaften in Nepal’.
  • March 2010
    Religionswissenschaftliches Seminar der Universität Zürich: Lesson ‘Ethnologische Zugänge: Kopfjagd der Naga’, part of the PH-course ‘Religion und Kultur’ (with Urs Schellenberger).
  • 2007-2008
    Religionswissenschaftliches Seminar der Universität Zürich: Preparatory seminar for the exhibition-project ‘Jenseitswege: eine Spurensuche im Diesseits’.
  • 2007
    Völkerkundemuseum Zürich: Ethnographische Zeichnung (Seminar with Marion Wettstein).
  • 2003-2006
    Ethnologisches Seminar Zürich: Tutor of the course ‘Methods in Anthropology’
  • 2002/2003
    Völkerkundemuseum Zürich: ‘Ethnographische Zeichnung’ (Proseminar with Marion Wettstein).
  • 2003
    Seminar assistant of Prof. Oppitz’ seminar: ‘Portraits von Lokalkulturen: Die Naga’ (with Marion Wettstein).
  • 2002-2003
    Tutor of the course: Computer-aided analysis of qualitative data with ATLAS/ti.
Copyright © Alban von Stockhausen