D. Daukšas  |  I. Šidiškienė  |  R. Paukštytė-Šaknienė  |  V. Savoniakaitė  |  V. Tumėnas  |  Ž. Šaknys

The Department of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Lithuanian Institute of History is one of the largest ethnology and anthropology research centres in Lithuania. Together with Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas and Klaipėda University, the Lithuanian Institute of History participates in a joint PhD programme in ethnology. The scholars of the department study the history and theory of ethnology and anthropology, the history, identity, ethnicity, nationalism, communality, diasporas, kinship, gender and the family, religiosity and rituals, cultural history and heritage of Lithuanians and ethnic groups; they conduct research on regions, places, de-territorialisation, migration, and the margins, and disseminate the results of their studies. The valuable manuscript library of the Department of Ethnology and Anthropology is the result of many years of ethnographic research.

The predecessor of the Ethnology and Anthropology Department was the Department of Archaeology-Ethnography, which was established in 1952 and headed by Assoc. Prof. Dr Pranas Kulikauskas. In 1962 the Ethnography Department formed a separate unit headed by Prof. Dr habil. Angelė Vyšniauskaitė, then Dr Vitalis Morkūnas from 1969, Dr Petras Kalnius from 1989, and Prof. Dr habil. Irena Regina Merkienė from 1991. In 1996, the Ethnography Department was renamed the Ethnology Department. Prof. Dr habil. Vacys Milius became the head of the department in 1997, Dr Žilvytis Šaknys in 2001, and Dr Vida Savoniakaitė in 2013. The department used to publish a number of continuous publications: Archeologiniai ir etnografiniai tyrinėjimai Lietuvoje (1970–1974; Archaeological and Ethnographic Research in Lithuania), Etnografiniai tyrinėjimai Lietuvoje (1975–1994; Ethnographic Research in Lithuania), the interdisciplinary series of monographs, studies, and articles ‘Iš lietuvių kultūros istorijos’ (1958–1989; From the History of Lithuanian Culture), and the series of monographs and studies ‘Lietuvių etnologija’ (1996–2002; Lithuanian Ethnology).

On 1 March 2016, the department became the Ethnology and Anthropology Department of the institute. Since 2001, it has been publishing the annual journal Lietuvos etnologija: socialinės antropologijos ir etnologijos studijos (Ethnology of Lithuania: Studies in Social Anthropology and Ethnology).

From 2022 to 2026, the scholars of the department are conducting the research programme ‘Challenges of Crises: Communality in a Comparative Perspective’ (headed by Dr Vida Savoniakaitė). The following programmes of the Lithuanian Institute of History were implemented in the past decades: ‘Understanding Ethnicity and Nationality’ (2017–2021, leader Dr Vida Savoniakaitė); ‘Leisure, Holidays, and Rituals in the Encirons of Vilnius. Social and Cultural Aspects’ (2017–2021, leader Dr Žilvitis Šaknys); ‘Own and Other in Lithuania: Social Structures, Culture, Identity’ (2012–2016, leader Dr Savoniakaitė); ‘Social Interaction and Cultural Expression in the City: Leisure, Holidays, and Rituals’ (2012–2016, leader Dr Šaknys).

The most recent research projects: projects of the Lithuanian Institute of History and the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences ‘Festival and Everyday Culture in Bulgaria and Lithuania: Tradition and Modernity’ (2019–2021, leaders Assoc. Prof. Ekaterina Anastasova and Dr Šaknys), ‘Contemporary Festivity in Bulgaria and Lithuania: From Traditional Culture to Post-Modern Transformations’ (2015–2017, leaders Assoc. Prof. Anastasova and Dr Šaknys); Dr Darius Daukšas participated individually in the project ‘Inequalities of mobility: relatedness and belonging of transnational families in the Nordic migration space’ of the University of Eastern Finland (2015–2019); Dr Vytautas Tumėnas led the project ‘Research on Value Attitudes of Ethnic Culture for Public Policy’ of the Association of Lithuanian Ethnic Culture (No. S/TYR-9(6. 59)-2016, 2016-2017); ‘Contemporary Holidays of the Residents of Vilnius’ (LIT-5-6 2012–2014, leader Dr Rasa Paukštytė-Šaknienė); preparation and publishing of the monograph Gyvenimo etnografija: besikeičianti Lietuva XX amžiuje (LIT-5-7 2012–2013, leader Dr Auksuolė Čepaitienė; Ethnography of Life: Changing Lithuania in the Twentieth Century). The project ‘National Identity: Comparative Perspectives of Local Communities in the Context of Globalisation" (PMK-02/2010 2008-2010, leader Dr Vida Savoniakaitė) was implemented and the Encyclopaedia of Lithuanian Ethnology and Anthropology was published (;