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Dr. Julian Sommerschuh

Assistant Professor (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter)

Research Interests

Values, Christianity, Cultural Change, Ethiopia

Short Biography

I’m a social anthropologist (PhD, Cambridge 2019), teaching anthropology and practical philosophy at Cologne University.

My research is on values and cultural change. I’m interested in how conceptions of the good can motivate people to transform their way of life. I have been pursuing this interest through fieldwork on religious conversion in southern Ethiopia. I’m now developing a new project on the role of religion in mitigating climate change.


  • Sommerschuh, J. 2022. The Grace in Hierarchy: Seniors, God, and the Sources of Life in Southern Ethiopia. Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 40(1).
  • Sommerschuh, J. 2021. Respectable Conviviality: Solving Value Conflicts through Orthodox Christianity in Southern Ethioipa. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 27(4).
  • Sommerschuh, J. 2021. Questioning Growth: Christianity, Development, and the Perils of Wealth in Southern Ethiopia. Journal of Religion in Africa.
  • Sommerschuh, J. 2020. From Feasting to Accumulation: Modes of Value Realisation and Radical Cultural Change in Southern Ethiopia. Ethnos.
  • Sommerschuh, J. 2020. Legal pluralism and Protestant Christianity: From fine to forgiveness in an Aari community. In Legal pluralism in Ethiopia: Actors, challenges and solutions. Susanne Epple and Getachew Assefa, eds. Pp. 213–34. Culture and social practice: transcript-Verlag.
  • Sommerschuh, J. 2019. Whatever Happened to Respect? Values and Change in a Southwest Ethiopian (Aari) Community. Doctoral Thesis, University of Cambridge, Cambridge.
  • Robbins, J. & J. Sommerschuh. 2016. Values. In The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology F. Stein, S.Lazar, M. Candea, H. Diemberger, J. Robbins, A. Sanchez & R. Stasch, eds.
  • Sommerschuh, J & J. Robbins. forthcoming. Values and Ethics. In Handbook of the Anthropology of Ethics and Morality. James Laidlaw, ed. Cambridge University Press.
  • Sommerschuh, J. forthcoming. Invited commentary on: Pohran, Nadya. Belief-inclusive research: Does strategically 'bracketing out' a researcher's (religious) beliefs and doubts limit access to ethnographic data? Current Anthropology.
  • Sommerschuh, J. forthcoming. Speaking Humbly: Speech, Values and Change in Protestant Southern Ethiopia. In Religious Speakers and Religious Speech. Authority and Influence of Word and People.
  • Under review: Sommerschuh, J. Becoming Amhara: Ethnic Identity Change as a Quest for Respect in Aari, Ethiopia.


Anthropology of the Good; Charles Taylor, A Secular Age; Pluralism and Relativism; Religion and Climate Change

Introduction to the Anthropology of Ethics; Modern Virtue Ethics; Bernard Williams; Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self

Religion and Modernity; Value and Values; Religion and Moral Economy; Moral Change (with Wilfried Hinsch)

Supervision of undergraduate students at Cambridge, Part IIb (San5): Ethical Life and the Anthropology of the Subject


PhD in Social Anthropology, Cambridge University, 2019
MPhil in Social Anthropology, Cambridge University, 2014
BA in European Ethnology and Sociology, Humboldt-University of Berlin, 2012


2015-2019 Cambridge Trust (Vice-Chancellor’s Award)
2014-2015 German Academic Exchange Service (One-year Grant)
2009-2014 German National Academic Foundation (Stipendiary)