Academic Background: I am a trained anthropologist from University of Copenhagen. During my Masters, I focused on medical anthropology, and anthropology of time, age and the life course. I received my MSc-degree with the thesis “Being One Self. An Anthropological Study of Divorce, Seperation and Time in Montreal”.
My research in a nutshell: My research focuses on health care, the state, family-making and parenting. My PhD project examines logics of care and citizen-state interactions in the Danish Welfare state by focusing on sundhedsplejerskers (children’s nurses’) work and their interaction with parents and toddlers. The project explores the relationship between authority and different logics of care in these interactions and how this is affected by the different roles the nurses fill. My research thus explores how ideas about family, parenting, health and wellbeing are produced and negotiated in the meeting between parents and the health and care sector in the Danish wellfare society.
Who is your favorite ‘Global Thinker’ and why? Fortunately, the world is so full of brilliant global thinkers that I cannot pick just one. Therefore, here are three of my favourites ones: Magrethe Vestager – because of her fight for transparency and consumer rights and against monopoly power, tax fraud and abuse of customer data in the world’s biggest corporations. Paul Farmer – because of his work on raising awareness on global health inequality and structural violence in terms of access to medicine, health care, drinking water, etc. Samantha Power – because of her work on raising awareness of the moral responsibility of the international community and her continuous fight for democracy and human rights through US’ foreign policy.
Academic Background: I have my B.A in Library and Information Science and M.A in Musicology, both in National Taiwan University (2008-2016). In my master degree I wrote my thesis on Taiwan’s sound history: “A Preliminary Study on Taiwan’s Radio Program Kodomo No Jikan ”Children”s Time” in Colonial Taiwan”. Two years later, I have the opportunity to further explore the history of Taiwan through sounds with my exciting PhD project.
My research in a nutshell: My PhD project: “Sounds and Memories: Tracing the Sounds of War in Post-War Taiwan” aims to discover Taiwan’s essential sound memories in postwar Taiwan through a series of different resources and approaches. By analyzing documents and sounds as well as interviewing citizens of Taiwan who had experienced the war period, this project tries to identify the most important post-WWII sounds and their acoustic echoes in people’s cultural memories.
What is your favorite place in Taiwan? I am from Taiwan and my favorite place in Taiwan is Hualien (花蓮). It sits in the East Taiwan and is surrounded by both spectacular mountains and beautiful coastlines. I regularly visit Hualien and enjoy the scenery by bike.
Academic Background: I have a BA and MA in History and Social Science from Aarhus University. During my studies, I became increasingly interesting in the field of digital humanities and the ways that computational and quantitative methods can aid traditional humanities research, so as a way to get out of the dusty archives, I decided to learn coding on the side. This, combined with my other long-standing interest in far-right online communities and their use of history, eventually culminated in my current PhD project.
My research in a nutshell: I research memory and the use of history in far-right online communities. In my PhD project, I specifically look at a chat forum called 4chan’s /pol/, where I try to understand how users engage with and utilize history in their processes of identity and community formation. Partly due to the nature and magnitude of my empirical data, I rely on a mix of traditional close reading methods as well as more data-intensive methods such as statistical analysis, machine learning, algorithmic topic modelling, and other techniques from the fields of digital humanities and natural language processing. This approach allows me a multifocal view into an otherwise chaotic, disordered, and amorphous online far-right community.
Who is your favorite ‘Global Thinker’ and why? I try not to have ‘favorites’ of too many things, since people, tastes and opinions necessarily change over time, and I think it’s important to always have a dynamic and evolving view of the world. However, for good and bad, I can’t help but be inspired by technologists and entrepreneurs like the late Aaron Swartz (co-developer of Reddit) and to some extent Christopher Poole (creator of 4chan) for their ideas about the Internet as an open information system, more or less detached from government and moral policing, where a true global democratic populace can ideally come together, collaborate, share ideas, be creative, and audit the powers that be. While such cyber-utopianist convictions might not stand up well against the reality of today’s Internet, I do still think that such basic debates around privacy, anonymity, freedom of expression, and access to information are important, as we undoubtedly continue to drift towards ever-increasing global connectivity.
Academic background: I hold a BA in linguistics from Aarhus University, and an MA in Japanese studies from Copenhagen University. I spent a semester at Kobe University in 2014 and a semester at the University of Tokyo in 2016. A common thread in my studies has been the nature of Japanese grammar and the many different descriptions of it across time and space.
My research in a nutshell: Not easy to sum up one’s work “in a nutshell”! In my PhD project, I look at how a number of Japanese language scholars in the early 20th century reinterpreted the pre-modern Japanese language studies as a means to retrieve a ‘purely Japanese’ (i.e. not tainted by Western thought) mode of theorising about grammar and language. In this sense, I try to explore how questions of national and cultural identity become entangled with grammar writing.
What is your favourite place in Japan? When I was younger, I was mostly drawn to the cityscapes of Tokyo and Osaka, I liked exploring the narrow alleyways under the television-coloured skies. Although nowadays my favourite ‘place’ is probably Setouchi, Japan’s inland sea. Whenever I find myself longing to be back in Japan, it is usually a small seaside town, beach or inlet in Setouchi I am thinking of. Also, I was recently in Toyama on the north coast of Japan, where I had the most delicious sushi I have ever eaten. If you ever have the chance, try ordering shiira (mahi-mahi) at a sushi bar in Toyama. There’s a significant chance that it’s the best seafood in the world.
Academic Background: I hold a B.A. in Media and Communication Studies and Political Science from Freie Universität Berlin (Germany) and a M.A. in European Studies from Aarhus University. During my B.A. degree I focused on topics and questions related to political communication in Germany and (Northern) Europe while during my M.A. studies I became interested in questions about national identities, memory and the rise of illiberalism and authoritarianism in Europe.
My research in a nutshell: I am mainly interested in far-right populism, right-wing extremism and questions that focus on how (national) belonging and identity as well as exclusionary politics are re-produced through collective memory and affects. Furthermore, I am interested in the connection between the surge of far-right actors, movements and parties and what is commonly referred to as ‘mainstream’ hegemonic discourses and socio-cultural orders in Germany and Europe. In my PhD project I am looking at the German far-right party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) challenges Germany’s post-Holocaust memory culture and mobilizes range of different feelings, thus offering potential voters and supporters an alternative, ethno-nationalist way of being German.
If you would not be a researcher, what do you think would be your profession today and why? If a career in research does not work out, I have a Plan B: Opening a small Café that sells simple (but yummy!) food and drinks and establishes itself as venue for small art exhibitions, political discussion and cultural events etc. because I like the idea of creating a place where people can meet each other in a comfortable and safe environment and exchange ideas, opinions and perspectives. As a special feature I would have my grandmother’s old Trabant, refurbished as a small food-truck in front of the door to sell vegetarian Bratwurst and Sauerkraut, Falafel and Pumpkin Soup.
PhD Candidate in Japan Studies
Academic Background: I have a BA in Chinese Studies with a minor in Japan Studies and an MA in Global area studies (focusing on China) and Japan Studies. Both are from Aarhus University.
My research in a nutshell: Given my educational background, I am highly interested in the relationship between Japan and China. I’m currently investigating how Japanese NGOs that engage in multi-track diplomacy fit into the larger framework of Japan-China diplomacy. We usually think of diplomacy as government representatives meeting each other, but non-government actors – such as academics, business leaders, NGO representatives etc. – are increasingly participating in diplomacy and helping to shape bilateral relations. I think it is important to know more about who these actors are, how they are connected to each other and to various government actors, what their goals and motivations are and so on.
What is your favorite book? One book that I keep coming back to is Zhuangzi, a key text of Daoism and one of the great works of Chinese philosophy. Working in academia, it is easy to get stuck in conceptual thinking and theories meant to explain various phenomena. I find that Zhuangzi’s investigations into the limits of knowledge, along with its gentle mockery of the human tendency to divide up the world and put the parts into categories, is a great antidote to this.
Academic Background: Prior to joining the Department of Global Studies at Aarhus University, I completed my master’s in development studies at IIT, Hyderabad in August 2021. This was a way of fulfilling my desire to engage, learn and grow, especially after having worked on diverse projects in education sector in India. My earlier bachelors and masters have been in English Literature at Mumbai University.
My research in a nutshell: Specifically within the scope of my PhD I am hoping to research how people from developing countries, like India perceive, use, and dispose plastics. I am interested in exploring the socio-material and socio-cultural aspects of plastics, while also being mindful of its interlinkages, commonly with modernity, industrialization and more recently with climate change and the Anthropocene. Other academic interests include urban studies, discard studies, anthropology of infrastructures and ethnographies of design processes.
If you would not be a researcher, what do you think would be your profession today and why? I would have most definitely turned to playwriting or scriptwriting. I love deconstructing plots and often find myself preempting narratives, be it a novel, play, series, or film.
Annemarie’s interests cluster around the role of culture in conflict, conflict transformation and resolution. She has worked ethnographically on these and related issues in Belfast, and on the relationship between conflict transformation, peacebuilding and European integration in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Belgrade, Serbia. Annemarie is currently developing a research project on soldiers’ memories of conflict in Northern Ireland considered in relation to wider societal debates on “dealing with the past”, as it were. She is a Visual Anthropologist with a background in European Studies holding Master’s degrees from the University of Manchester and Aarhus University now based at the Centre for Irish Studies in Aarhus where she is affiliated as a PhD student.
I am interested in how knowledge is produced, primarily at the universities, and especially how this knowledge is (not) in turn contested. This involves a focus on education politics and policies, as well as institutional structures that either foster or inhibits knowledge contestation. This is investigated through a locus of the rising student movement challenging the educational paradigm in economics across Europe.
Academic Background: I received my Bachelor degree in Journalism (2008-2012) and my first Master degree in Ethnology (2013-2016) in China. I obtained my second Master degree in Culture, Communication, and Globalization at Aalborg University in Denmark, during which period I also studied in Japan for one semester as a visiting student. In the first master programme, I focused on religious communication and ethnic cultural analysis in Tibet. And in the second master programme, I started to research Chinese immigrants in Denmark. Currently, I am doing my PhD project “Daigou: Market, Trust and Gender in Contemporary China”.
My research in a nutshell: My research focuses on social issues in contemporary China in terms of ethics, gender politics, trust transformation and transnational mobility. I have been researching the case of the Chinese community in Denmark for more than five years. From an anthropological perspective, my research aims to provide a picture of the overseas Chinese community, discussing its connection to both China and Denmark. Currently, I am working on my PhD project about transnational networks of reselling infant formula between China and Denmark.
If you would not be a researcher, what do you think would be your profession today and why? I think I would be a pedagogue in kindergarten if I don’t end up in academia. I love kids, especially the small ones. I worked as a volunteer teacher for three months in a primary school in a remote village when I was doing my bachelor programme. I still miss the life there with those small kids. The love gets stronger after I have my daughter. I think it is the most beautiful thing to play, to sing, to laugh, and to explore the world with kids.
NAJA MORELL HJORTSHØJ
Academic Background: I have a BA and MA degree in China Studies and Anthropology from Aarhus University. Besides, I have been studying parts of my degree in China, among others at Peking University in Beijing and Fudan University in Shanghai.
My research in a nutshell: In my ongoing PhD project, I investigate how an official Chinese policy of innovation and entrepreneurship education migrates into the educational settings at Chinese universities. I work with policymaking as an anthropological concept and examine how social actors across diverse contexts (including Chinese university students and academics) enact the policy of innovation and entrepreneurship education in their daily lives. For this purpose, I have been doing a year of ethnographic fieldwork, mainly in Shanghai. The questions I ask include what motivates Chinese students to engage in entrepreneurship, and how role models within entrepreneurship present the meaning of being entrepreneurial in the classrooms.
What is your favorite word in Chinese? One of the first colloquial Chinese words I learned was “qipa” (奇葩), which literally means a peculiar, exotic flower. This word is used to talk about people who are out of the ordinary; who like an exotic flower stand out in the landscape. In the recent years, a popular TV program has emerged in China called “qipa shuo” (奇葩说), meaning “The Qipa Says”. It features some of the best Chinese debaters, who present pros and cons to various questions like whether a man should be full time dad when his wife earns a high salary etc. The individuals who debate in the program often have very outstanding personalities, and some would perhaps call them “qipas”.