Sarah Fründt studied social anthropology, palaeoanthropology, criminal law, comparative religious studies, and comparative literature in Germany (Tübingen, Bonn) and the UK (St Andrews).

In 2011, she finished as Magistra Artium (equivalent to Master of Arts) with a study asking how to deal with human remains in museums (based on the respective collection of the Übersee-Museum Bremen). It was published as “Die Menschen-Sammler” the same year. One year later, she completed an additional Diploma in Forensic Anthropology at the University of Central Lancashire (UK).

Building on several placements and projects in the national and international museum field since 2006, she then worked for two years as a freelancing exhibition assistant and co-curator for the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – Kulturen der Welt in Cologne, taking part in the development of the exhibition “Made in Oceania: Tapa – Art and Social Landscapes”.
From 2013-2015 she was a research assistant at the Cluster of Excellence “Normative Orders” at the Frobenius-Institut/Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, looking at “Restitution Politics of German-speaking Museums of Ethnology since the 1970s”. Between July 2015 and October 2016, she was a research assistant at the University College Freiburg.

Currently, Sarah Fründt is writing her PhD dissertation in the field of interdisciplinary anthropology (see below).

Research Projects

Anthropology and Metric Ancestry Estimation. A Critical Examination of FORDISC and CRANID.
PhD project funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation / Gerda Henkel Stiftung.
For more information please click here.

German Museums and Repatriation. On-going research project

Anthropological and historical provenance research on a human remains collection from New Zealand, located at the Charité Berlin. Project leader: Prof Dr Andreas Winkelmann (Medizinische Hochschule Brandenburg Theodor Fontane)

Research Interests

Interdisciplinary anthropology, history of science (biological and cultural anthropology), museum studies/postcolonial museology, debates on human remains and sensitive objects in museums (including repatriation and restitution debates), visual anthropology and ethnographic films

Selected Publications

2018 (forthcoming): “Sensitive Collections”, together with G. McMaster, in: Edenheiser, I., Förster, L. (Eds). Einführung in die Museumsethnologie. Dietrich Reimer Verlag: Berlin.

2018: “Provenienzforschung zu ethnografischen Sammlungen der Kolonialzeit. Positionen in der aktuellen Debatte”, together with L. Förster, I. Edenheiser, H. Hartmann (Eds.), Berlin,

2017: “Whose Heritage? Eine subjektive Annäherung”, in: Bonnet, Anne-Marie, Floorplan (Eds). Whose Heritage? Floorplan Papers. Autopress: Bonn, pp. 182-197.

—: “Systematische Provenienzforschung an kolonialen Schädelsammlungen”, in: Seidl, E. / Steinheimer F., Weber, C. (Eds): Materielle Kultur in universitären und außeruniversitären Sammlungen. Junges Forum für Sammlungs- und Objektforschung – Band I, Berlin, pp. 38-44,

—: “Forum: Human Remains in Museums and Collections. A Critical Engagement with the “Recommendations” of the German Museums Association (2013)”, together with L. Förster (Eds), in: H-Soz-Kult, 06.02.2017,

2016: “Return logistics – repatriation business. Managing the return of ancestral remains to New Zealand”. In: Hauser-Schäublin, B., Prott, L. V. (Eds) Cultural Property and Contested Ownership. London: Routledge, pp. 178-197.

2015: “Wer spricht? Ethnologische Museen und postkoloniale Herausforderungen”. In: Hoins, K., von Mallinckrodt, F.(Eds). Macht, Wissen, Teilhabe. Sammlungsinstitutionen im 21. Jahrhundert. Bielefeld: Transcript, pp. 97-108.

2013: “Alle anders, alle gleich? – Internationale Repatriierungsbewegungen”. In: Stoecker, H., Schnalke, T., Winkelmann A. (Eds). Sammeln, Erforschen, Zurückgeben? Menschliche Gebeine aus der Kolonialzeit in akademischen und musealen Sammlungen. Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag, pp. 323-338.

2011: Die Menschen-Sammler: Über den Umgang mit menschlichen Überresten im Übersee-Museum Bremen. Tectum Verlag: Marburg (published Magister thesis)


Sarah Fründt is editor and main contributor of a bilingual blog on “Museums and Responsibility” 

Professional memberships: Museum Working Group (AG Museum) of the German Anthropological Association (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie, formerly DGV), European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), International Council of Museums (ICOM), The Anthropology of Race and Ethnicity Network (ARE), Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), Gesellschaft für Anthropologie (GfA), Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung e.V.

She is also a member of the German Australian Research and Repatriation Network (GARRN), an international scientific network for provenance research on human remains and sensitive objects, and founding member of an emerging working group for provenance research on ethnological collections.


In 2017, she co-organized a conference on “Provenance Research on Ethnological Collections from Colonial Times” in Munich (April 7–8), hosted by the Museum Working Group (AG Museum) of the German Anthropological Association (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde, DGV), together with the Museum Fünf Kontinente in Munich.
Its main aims were to support exchange, to explore the possibilities for co-operations, and to discuss strategies for systematizing and institutionalizing research into collection histories and the provenance of collections from colonial times. The conference was funded by the VW Foundation.
Conference proceedings were published in early 2018 and can be found here.

Sarah Fründt