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Dr Cyril Schäfer died suddenly on 26 June 2015. Cyril was an integral and valued member of the Department, loved and respected so much by his friends, students and colleagues. We miss him and will remember him for his empathy, scholarship, sense of humour and his unwavering friendship.

Research InterestsCyril Schafer_large

Anthropology of ritual and religion; Death and dying, mortuary practices, grief and bereavement; Anthropological studies of evil, human cruelty, and violence; Ethnographic research methods; New Zealand, Germany and Eastern Europe.


ANTH210 Translating Culture: Reading Ethnographic Texts
ANTH211 Comtemporary Ethnographic Research
ANTH325 Rites of Passage: Death, Grief and Ritual
ANTH326 Special Topic: Sex and Culture (Summer School)


Dr Schafer's research projects explored contemporary mortuary practices, memory, and conflict:

The New Zealand Funeral Study (with Dr Ruth McManus, Canterbury University)
Debates in Thanatology (with Prof. Paul Voninski, SUNY Oswego, New York)
Attitudes to Death and Wellbeing (with Dr Shyamala Rada-Naja and Sheryll Malthus, IPRU, University of Otago)

Dr Schafer was the editor of Sites: a journal of social anthropology and cultural studies.
Journal Website:

He was also the co-organiser of the Death Down Under conference (University of Otago, Dunedin, 28-29 June 2012)
Conference website:

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