Klaus-Peter Koepping

Another obituary, this time in the Quarterly by Thomas Reuter. Time does not reconcile.

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The Quarterly Number 142/September 2017

In Fond Memory of…
Klaus Peter Koepping passed away in Berlin on
17 June, 2017
Prof. Dr. Klaus-Peter Koepping was a German anthropologist, born in Cottbus in 1940 into family with artistic and academic background. At the end of World War II his family was evacuated and eventually resettled in Kassel, and later to Aachen. Koepping developed an early interest in literature, music and foreign cultures. After finishing school in 1959, he began to study Law at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn, but also attended lectures on Art History and Japanese Studies, and courses at the Institute for Ancient American Studies and Ethnology, where Hermann Trimborn was among his teachers.

In 1966 Koepping moved to Cologne and studied at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology under Helmut Petri, Enno Beuchelt and others. Koepping deepened his knowledge on Chinese and Japanese culture and went on a study tour to Japan in 1966/67. There he worked as a journalist and collected ethnographic data on modern millenarian movements and nativist religious cults.

In 1969 Koepping moved to the USA and took up an assistant professorship in Fullerton, California, and after completed his PhD thesis in 1971 he was promoted to associated professor.

Koepping moved to Australia in 1972, where he became senior lecturer at the Department for Sociology and Anthropology at the university in Brisbane, Queensland. He lectured and continued his fieldwork in Japan. In 1984 Koepping took up a professorship at the Melbourne University, as the Baldwin Spencer Chair of Anthropology. Apart from lecturing and researching, he was tasked with establishing the School of Asian Studies. Ultimately, however, his lasting legacy at Melbourne was the establishment of a very successful anthropology program. One of the many undergraduate students he trained at Melbourne was IUAES Senior Vice-President, Prof Koepping also held visiting professorships, for example in Aachen and Mainz, reflecting his continuing ties to Germany. In 1991 Koepping took up a professorship, first at the South Asia Institute and later at the newly reopened Institute of Ethnology, both at the University of Heidelberg. In the following years he taught and completed a number of research projects.

Koepping held visiting professorships in Japan until his retirement in 2005. Between 2005 and 2007 Koepping was Visiting Professor at the Goldsmiths College in London, where he lectured in Post-Colonial Studies and the Centre of Cultural Studies with his former student, John Hutnyk. He was also a visiting fellow as part of the international research project »Interweaving Performance Cultures« in 2008/09.
Thomas Reuter
A memorandum of his life and work has been created by one of his daughters, and can be found here.


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