Bernhard Leistle

Contract Instructor

Degrees:PhD (Heidelberg)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 1955
Office:C775 Loeb
Office Hours: Tuesday 2:00-4:00 or by appointment

Areas of Interest:

Phenomenological Anthropology, Phenomenology, Psychiatric Anthropology, Anthropology of Performance, Semiotics, Morocco


I am a cultural anthropologist working at the intersection of anthropology, philosophy and psychology. My main theoretical interest is the translation and application of concepts from philosophical phenomenology (in particular Merleau-Ponty, Levinas and Waldenfels) to empirical research problems in anthropology. In recent years, my work concentrated on exploring the fertility of the phenomenological notion of the Other for anthropology. Results of this effort will appear shortly in form of an edited volume published by Routledge.

Previous ethnographic research focused on trance- and possession ritual in Morocco which I interpreted in terms of a structured appeal to participants’ senses and bodies. Through structural analogy between the senses appealed to and cultural concepts like that of jinn, possession ritual was shown to communicate cultural meanings in pre-reflective, pre-objective ways.

Currently, I am preparing research on the intertwining of culture and psychiatry, both in Morocco and in Canada.

On the undergraduate level, I am teaching a wide variety of courses, ranging from Introduction to Anthropology (ANTH 1001) and Ethnography of North Africa (ANTH 2660), to Culture and Symbols (ANTH 2500) and Ritual (ANTH 3510).

For graduate students I am offering courses corresponding to my research interests: Anthropology of Performance (ANTH 5505) and Phenomenology for Anthropologists and Sociologists (ANTH 5501).

I am particularly interested in working with graduate students in the topical areas of embodiment, sensory experience, identity and otherness, psychiatry as a field of discursive practices.



Forthcoming: Leistle, Bernhard (ed.) 2016. Anthropology and Alterity. Responding to the Other. New York/London Routledge 2016

Leistle, Bernhard/Koepping, Klaus-Peter/Rudolph Michael (eds) 2006. Ritual and Identity. Performative Practices as Effective Transformations of Social Reality. Berlin: LIT

Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

Leistle, Bernhard 2015. “Otherness as a Paradigm in Anthropology”. Semiotica 204, 291 – 313

Leistle, Bernhard 2014.“From the Alien to the Other – Steps toward a Phenomenology of Spirit Possession”. In: Anthropology of Consciousness 25/1: 53 – 90.

Leistle, Bernhard 2011. “Difficult Heritage. Time and the Other in Moroccan Rituals of Possession”. In: Simon, Udo et al. Reflexivity, Media, and Visuality. Ritual Dynamics and the Science of  Ritual, Vol. IV. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2011: 309 –338.

Leistle, Bernhard 2010.“Representation of the Other: Reading Orientalism through Phenomenology”. In: Telmissany, May/ Schwartz, Stephanie. Counterpoints: Edward Said’s Legacy. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010: 210 – 226.

Leistle, Bernhard 2007.“Einige Bemerkungen zum Verstehen fremder Lebenswelten in der Ethnologie” (Some Notes on Understanding Other Lifeworlds in Social and Cultural Anthropology). In: Curare. Journal of Medical Anthropology and Transcultural Psychiatry. Vol 30 (2007) 2+3.

Leistle, Bernhard (33%)/ Koepping, Klaus-Peter/ Rudolph, Michael. “Introduction”. In: Koepping/Leistle/Rudolph 2006: 9 – 30.

Leistle, Bernhard 2006a. “Ritual as Sensory Communication – A Theoretical and Analytical Perspective”. In: Koepping/Leistle/Rudolph eds. 2006: 33 – 74.

Leistle, Bernhard 2006b. “Menschliche Existenz und rituelle Verwandlung in Marokko – Ein Essay in phänomenologischer Anthropologie” (Human Existence and Ritual Transformation in Morocco. An Essay in Phenomenological Anthropology). In: Assmann, Aleida/ Assmann, Jan eds. Verwandlungen. Archäologie der literarischen Kommunikation IX. München: Fink, 2006: 155 – 182.

Leistle, Bernhard 2006c.“Der Geruch des Djinn – Phänomenologische Überlegungen zur kulturellen Bedeutungsdimension sinnlicher Erfahrung in Marokko” (The Odour of the Djinn. Phenomenological  Reflections on the Representative Dimension of Sensory Experience in Moroccan Culture). In: Curare, Journal of Medical Anthropology and Transcultural Psychiatry, 2006/3: 173 – 194.

Sociology and Anthropology  |  B750 Loeb Building, 1125 Colonel By Drive  |  Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1S 5B6 Tel: 613-520-2582  |  Fax: 613-520-4062  |  Office hours: 8:30am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-4:30pm
Contact information  |  |