In his capacity as professor, Peter Jan Margry will engage (part-time) in research and teaching activities in the area of European Ethnology, which is a comparative cultural science. The emphasis is on the analysis of everyday culture, with a specific focus on processes of signification. These processes are analysed in the comparative context of their historical development and social, religious, geographical, cultural and political frameworks. European Ethnology thus studies the day-to-day behaviour of people and our perceptions thereof ‘from below’. In geographical terms, Margry’s research focuses on the transnational European region, with an emphasis on the Dutch cultural area. In practice, his research concerns three specific themes: religious culture, cultural memory and intangible cultural heritage.
Margry has been working as an ethnologist at the Meertens Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) since 1993, and has been serving as a senior researcher at the same institute since 2001. In 2011, he temporarily served as professor of Religious Culture at KU Leuven and guest researcher at the University of Oregon and the University of California (Berkeley). Margry is the vice-president and official secretary of the International Society of Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) and official secretary of the Stichting Onderzoek cultuur van het dagelijks leven (Foundation for Research on the Culture of Daily Life). He also serves as a board member at the international journal Ethnologia Europaea and member of the editorial board at Quotidian, Dutch Journal on Everyday Culture.
Margry has published over 250 articles and books over the course of his career, including Shrines and Pilgrimage in the Modern World: New Itineraries into the Sacred (2008); Immaterieel erfgoed en Volkscultuur. Almanak bij een actueel debat (2011; with H. Dibbits et al.) and Grassroots Memorials: The Politics of Memorializing Traumatic Death (2011; with Cristina Sánchez-Carretero).