Zsuzsanna Berdán

Zsuzsanna Berdán

External PhD student



After the basic education in ethnography and philosophy in Hungary I delt with Cultural Anthropology (Ethnology) and after graduation worked as an ethnologist-museologist in an extensive museum. During this time I started my PhD in distance education in the University of Debrecen in Hungary. The first topic of the PhD work was an ethnomycological study to show the relationship between human culture and a particular fungus in Central Europe German and Hungarian-speaking areas. After that I extended the research in several species and limited the field of research to Eastern Switzerland. Currently I work on my dissertation from the Traditional plant knowledge of alpine farmers in Appenzell Innerrhoden and attend regular seminars at the Institute of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany in Zurich.

Supervisor: Dr. Elek Bartha (University of Debrecen in Hungary) and Dr. Caroline Weckerle (Institute of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany in Zurich)

PhD project

Aim of the project is an in-depth understanding of environmental perception of alpine farmers of the Alpstein region in Appenzell Innerrhoden as well as their plant knowledge and the role of wild plants in their daily life. The findings will be comparatively analysed with ethnobotanical studies from similar regions of other places in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, as well as historical information of plant use in alpine regions derived from literature and archives. The study will contribute to our understanding of plant-people interactions in mountainous areas and changes over time.

Field research is conducted to answer the following questions:
How is the environment emically perceived and structured, i.e. what are the different types of habitats and vegetation zones recognized by the local farmers and how are they used, characterized and differentiated?
What plants and mushrooms are known and used by the farmers? This includes detailed information about the plant taxa used, their collection and preparation as food, medicine or for religious purposes, and their local names.


• PhD student in ethnography (current)
• Specialization in Cultural Anthropology (Ethnology) (2009)
• Teacher with specification in philosophy (MA: 2009)
• Faculty of Humanities ethnography and philosophy (MA: 2009)

Research interests

Ethnology of Religion
Anthropological philosophy


• 2018 The secrets of the fairytale mushroom. Moeszia. Mycological-ethnomycological journal Vol. 9-10., Societatea de Micologie „Kálmán LÁSZLÓ” Sf. Gheorghe
• 2016 Snapshot of Switzerland. Traditional food and eating habits. (Original: Pillanatkép Svájcból: Hagyományos ételek és étkezési szokások)Néprajzi Látóhatár Ethnographic Horizons 2014 3-4: 190-217, Debrecen.
• 2013 Domesticatio et sepultura (Relationship between humans and animals in the 21st century) (Original: Domesticatio et sepultura (Ember és állat viszonya a 21. században). Zalai Múzeum 20: 291-304, Zalaegerszeg. (http://gocsejimuzeum.hu/sites/default/files/csatolmanyok/statikus/zm_20.pdf)
• 2013 Homo et natura: Ethnomycological examinations in the name of interdisciplinarity. (Original: Etnomikológiai vizsgálódások az interdiszciplinaritás jegyében). Nagyerdei Almanach 4. Jg. 6: 1-8, Debrecen. (http://filozofia.unideb.hu/na/vol2013_1/131.01_BZs_1-8p.pdf)
• 2013 The parallels of Sylvester and carnival customs in Central Europe. (Original: Újévi és farsangi szokások párhuzamai Közép-Európában) Studia Folkloristica et Ethnographica 57: 173-199, Debrecen.
• 2012 The role of the mushroom in agriculture in the 19th century. (Original: A gombák helye a 19. századi gazdaságokban) Georgikon Majormúzeum Keszthely: 103-110. Partner Author: Dr. Szeglet Péter
• 2011 Folklore graphics by Dr. Kós Károly in Keszthely. (Original: Dr. Kós Károly grafikái Keszthelyen) Honismeret, 39. Jg. 4. Nr.: 65-67, Budapest.
• 2011 Krishna-believers in Somogy, dissertation on the social and economic life of the Krisna Valley. (Original: Krisna-hívők Somogyban. Értekezés Krisna-völgy társadalmi és gazdasági életéről), Zalai Múzeum 19: 255-271, Zalaegerszeg.
• Saint Peter and the fungus, or the legends of the fungus emergence in Hungarian culture. (Original: Szent Péter és a gomba, avagy a gomba keletkezésével kapcsolatos legendák a magyar nép kultúrában) Proceedings 2013, Veszprém.