Vilmos Diószegi Hundred Anniversary Memorial Conference

5/Jun/2023 9:00 - 19:00

The Research Centre for the Humanities, the Museum of Ethnography and the Turkic Academy

cordially invites to the

Vilmos Diószegi (1923-1972) - Hundred Anniversary Memorial Conference

5 June 2023, between 9.00-19.00

Museum of Ethnography, Conference Room, 2nd floor
(Budapest, 1146, Dózsa György út 35., entrance from Heroes' Square)

Participation in the conference is subject to registration!
Please register by 28 May!


Simultaneous interpretation will be provided for the presentations!


The conference programme:

8:30-9:00  |  Registration

9:00-10:00  |  Welcoming speeches

Lajos Kemecsi (Director of the Museum of Ethnography, Budapest)
Balázs Balogh (Director General of the Research entre for the Humanities, Budapest)
Shahin Mustafayev (President of the International Turkic Academy, Astana)
Kemal Ün (Chief advisor Turksoy, Ankara)
Mihály Hoppál (Emeritus Professor the Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest)
János Hóvári (Head of the Representation Office of Organization of Turkic States, Budapest)

10:00–12:00  |  Section one.
Chairperson: Gábor Wilhelm

10:00–10:30  |  István Sántha (Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest): Diaries and letters fromSouthern Siberia and Northern Mongolia. Diószegi’s field researches and the Continuity of the Hungarian and International field oriented Siberian Studies after World War Two

10:30–11:00  |  Judith Hangartner (University of Bern): Tracing Diószegi’s encounters with shamans in northern Mongolia

11:00–11:30  |  Dávid Somfai Kara (Nazarbaev University, Astana/Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest): In the Wake of Diószegi in Southern Siberia

11:30–12:00  |  Timur Davletov (Turksoy, Ankara): Khakas Shamanism


12:00–13:30 | Lunch break


13:30–15:30  |  Section two.
Chairperson: István Sántha

13:30–14:00  |  Chuluun Sampildondov (Chinggis Museum, Ulanbaatar): Ethnic history of Khotogoids and their Shamanism

14:00–14:30  |  Ivan Peshkov (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan): Between Christ and Burkhans. The “double faith” of the Evenks in Inner Mongolia as an apolitical and epistemological problem

14:30–15:00  |  Liesbet Nyssen (Leiden University): “I took the chatkhan” (Khakas zither): Getting into storytelling and singing by spirit intrusion

15:00–15:30  |  Victoria Peemot (University of Helsinki): Sharing Knowledge with The Things: More-Than-Human Kinship and Indigenous Storytelling


15:30–16:00  |  Coffe break


16:00–18:00  |  Section three.
Chairperson: Zsolt Szilágyi

16:00–16:30  |  Gábor Wilhelm (Museum of Ethnography, Budapest): Vilmos Diószegi’s Heritage: Collecting Objects and the Comparison

16:30–17:00  |  Uranbayar Gombosuren (Chinggis Museum, Ulaanbaatar): About shamanic objects in Genghis Khan National Museum

17:00–17:30  |  Krisztina Pálóczy – Tímea Bata (Museum of Ethnography, Budapest): Vilmos Diószegi’s Collections in the new permanent exhibition of the Museum of Ethnography (Budapest)


Vilmos Diószegi (1923-1972) was an internationally recognized Hungarian ethnologist studying Siberian shamanic traditions. He had the chance to conduct fieldwork in Southern Siberia and the Northern Mongolia four times between 1957 and 1964. He continued the Hungarian fieldwork-oriented research in Siberia after World War II at an international level.

In 1957 he traveled to the Soviet Union originally for two months but returned only one and half years later, when his passport expired. His aim was to clarify the origin of ancient Hungarian pre-Christian beliefs by analyzing the elements of Siberian shamanic traditions. He followed the ethical considerations accepted by the scholars of that period during his fieldwork, including archives and museum collections. We can get insights not only to the shamanic practices after World War II but also the everyday life of ethnographers in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Moscow and Siberia.

Diószegi influenced the representatives of the local intelligentsia to value their indigenous culture and shamanic traditions in a period when the communist state forbade the activities of traditional representatives of Siberian cultures, among shamans and epic singers. He socialized with the Siberian intelligentsia and emphasized the role of shamanic traditions in ethnic identity.

The scholarly and popular accounts of his travels are important not only for future scholars but also for any reader interested in the peoples Southern Siberia and Northern Mongolia distantly related to Hungarians.

The aim of the international conference commemorating the 100th anniversary of Vilmos Diószegi’s birth is to recall the personality of the great Hungarian ethnologist and to assess the results of his research and collected materials (shamanic objects, photographs and sound-recordings) preserved at the Museum of Ethnography in Budapest.