Since its establishment in the year 1963, research at the Seminar of Social Anthropology has focused on specific core themes. Historically, these include the systematic engagement with the material culture of non-European societies, frequently in collaboration with the Museum of Cultures, Basel.
More recently, ethnographic research at the seminar has focused on contemporary transformations of societies in the world, as well as the theoretical and methodological transformations of social anthropology itself. The research projects are mainly interdisciplinary and are undertaken in close collaboration with research institutes in the North and South.