Academic Background: I studied Sinology and English Philology/Cultural Studies at Freie Universität Berlin (FU) Berlin (1988-1995), including two years of Chinese language and literature studies at Fudan University, Shanghai. I received my MA-Degree with the thesis “The Long March of Rock ‘n’ Roll: Pop- and Rock Music in the People’s Republic of China.” Afterwards, I continued to explore my interest in modern Chinese history and culture in the PhD project “Between Entertainment and Revolution: Gramophones and the Early Chinese Music Industry in Shanghai, 1878-1937.” Simultaneously, I was employed at the Department of Sinology, FU Berlin, to organize and contribute to a long-term international (archival) research project on the Sino-German Relations, 1897-1997. I received my PhD degree in 2003.
My research in a nutshell: My research focuses on aspects of modern Chinese history, with an emphasis on the cultural industries, especially the entanglements and (global) transfers of (media) technology and (musical) sound. More recently, I began to combine my interest in Shanghai history with the sonic dimension of cultural politics and production, propaganda and memory studies. Eager to learn and explore Chinese sounds in the past and present, I organized the international conference “China Sounds Abroad” (2021) at Aarhus University, amongst others. Together with MSO-Prof. Wulf Kansteiner I also work on the Velux-funded project “Sounds of War: The Memory of World War II in Taiwan, East Germany and Denmark, 1945-2015.”
What is your favorite book? I have not one favorite book, but among those I recently read I really enjoyed Ha Jin’s The Banished Immortal: A life of Li Bai (New York: Pantheon Book 2019). Ha Jin (b. 1956) is a poet and novelist, who lives in the US and teaches at Boston University. I also appreciate his early masterpiece Waiting (1999) and other works, but The Banished Immortal strikes me as a combination of scholarship, interpretation and creative writing. In the book, Ha Jin literally walks with Li Bai (701-762) through China, based on his most famous heritage: the poems (included in both Chinese and English translation). Li was a strong character, a restless person, a heavy wine drinker, who sought government employment all his life. Ha Jin creates a very nuanced and lively portrait of this “pop star,” invites the reader to explore life during the Tang Dynasty, and learn to appreciate Chinese poetry. Beautifully written, one can appreciate it as a biography and as a novel, while contemplating about the artist in Chinese history.
Academic Background: I received a Master’s degree in intercultural communication at San Francisco State University in the States. For many years I have taught business communication and intercultural communication at universities as well as companies in Japan. I have also held workshops on intercultural communication both in Germany and France. Currently, I teach Japanese language from the socio-cultural perspective. It’s been 8 years since I started working at AU.
My research in a nutshell: My research focuses on intercultural communication, intercultural adaptation in particular. Recently, I have been researching how volunteer work experience at the Japanese supplementary school influences the Danish university students’ intercultural adaptation.
If you would not be a researcher, what do you think would be your profession today and why? Broadway musical dancer, definitely!! After retirement, an owner of café with live classical music performance.
Academic Background:I completed a Masters degree in ethnomusicology at the University of Texas in Austin and a PhD in cultural anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
My research in a nutshell: My research has focused on issues of urbanism, migration and expressive culture throughout the Black Atlantic, specifically the Luso-African worlds of Brazil, Portugal and Cape Verde. I have also conducted fieldwork on “Muslim youth” in Aarhus. What is particularly distinctive is my approach to textual composition. I have developed a dynamic relationship between multimodal content (sound-image-text) and style (ethnographic fiction, mixed genres). Such an approach and a willingness to explore sensibilities complement a transdisciplinary perspective on knowledge and representation of multispecial conditions. My recent work on the night as a culturally variable time-place filled with creative human anxiety and differentiated relationships with natural and human ecologies has added an essential layer of theoretical reflection and aesthetic inspiration to my work.
What was it that initially sparked your interest Brazil: In 1994 I hitchhiked from Texas to Guatemala. It was during the World Cup and I met a group of Italians and Brazilians in Oaxaca, México. It was a day before the final between these two football giants. So, I ran off with a French woman to an indigenous community and participated in a mescaline ritual. We were absolutely silent and lay still for hours. Upon hearing a word in Zapotec, we arose and gorged ourselves on fruit. We returned to the capital city and after a round or five at a local saloon, I found myself with two Brazilians playing bossa nova music. A life choice was made. Obs: Some of that was fabricated. You choose what. Or just email me and we’ll chat.
Academic Background: I have a master’s degree in political science and Czech studies from 1989 and finished my PhD on Czech nineteenth century history in 1994, all at Aarhus University.
My research in a nutshell: Over the years, I have oscillated between three key research interests: nineteenth century and early twentieth history with a special focus on nationalism and national identity in a multinational state (concretely: Czechs in the Habsburg Empire; interwar Czechoslovakia); dissidence, grey zones, culture, and law in Communist Czechoslovakia; and last but not necessarily least: ideas of Europe and Europeanness with a special focus on mental mappings of and discourses about ‘Central’ and ‘Eastern’ Europe, including the ways in which dubious West-East dichotomies permeate nationalism theory. Borders (discursive and political) also have my keen interest.
What is your favorite place in Europe and why? I never tire of Prague. It is a beautiful city where I feel very much at home while also constantly discovering new and surprising places. I have many friends there, Prague is great for walking, a joy for the eye, and the beer is excellent!
My research in a nutshell: I am a Senior Teaching Associate Professor of Chinese at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. I received her BA in English Literature and Language from East China Normal University, Shanghai, China; MSc in IT, Language Learning and Teaching from the University of Aarhus, Denmark; and PhD in Teacher Education from Aalborg University, Denmark. My recent research interests are in the field of Chinese language education, including applied Chinese linguistics, pedagogy, and Chinese language teachers’ identities. I have published more than twenty research papers in peer-reviewed journals including International Journal of Chinese Language Teaching, Global Chinese (De Gruyter), Sprogforum, Brill Sense, Palgrave Macmillan.
Favorite place in China: My favourite city is Shanghai. It’s my home city, where I was born and grew up. It is a metropolitan city full of dynamics and vitality. It is a popular tourist destination renowned for its historical and contemporary landmarks, such as, The Bund, City God Temple, and Yu Garden, and the extensive Pudong skyline, many skyscrapers and many major museums and musical halls. Another wonderful thing about Shanghai is the food. There are many incredible food restaurants, not only they serve delicious Shanghai food, but many of which are affordable for ordinary people.
Academic Background: DPhil Sussex. I did my MA at Queen Mary, London in a very interdisciplinary department of cultural studies. My BA was from Lancaster in English and Sociology
My research in a nutshell: Basically I use micro-methods to talk in a novel way about macro social and economics issues. More specifically this means adopting the classic method of anthropology – ethnography: living in the community you are studying, participating, engaging and taking seriously what people say and do while remaining objective. I then use that as a lens to study things like neoliberal policies (changes in welfare conditions for families and unemployed, the degree of control and surveillance at work, the general ‘common sense’ discourse in the media and society at large about how an individual should look after themselves). Other things that are more ‘macro’ are how bureaucracies work and interact with people, informal economy, civic activism, etc.
What is your favorite place in Russia? I really love Moscow because it’s the biggest global city in Europe and you can pretty much do/see/hear anything there. People don’t realise how fast Moscow changes. It’s as hypermodern as any Chinese or Japanese city, and yet right at its centre you can meet old wooden houses with pensioners living in them and beautifully quiet garden yards, family-run shops and genuine local music or culture scenes. My research is in a small town, so coming back to Moscow from time to time is a real treat. I just love walking around with my Russian friends and talking about the buildings and streets we explore together.
Academic Background: I am a trained japanologist with a special focus on political science. I have received both my Master’s as well as my PhD degree from the University of Hamburg in Germany. For many years I have lived in Japan where I have been doing my research and taught at the University of Osaka. Currently I am an Associate Professor at Aarhus University where I have been employed since 2018.
My research in a nutshell: My research deals primarily with Japan’s postwar forein policy. I have been particularly interested in Japan’s nonmilitary instruments that include Official Development Assistance. In the last few years I have been looking at the question of how Japan has been adjusting its foreign policy to the rise of China.
The other part of my research is dedicated to the political economy of the country, in other words the mechanism behind the political decision making. This has been a particularly fascinating topic as the political system has been recently undergoing far-reaching reforms.
Favorite place in Japan: When people think about Japan, Tokyo or Kyoto comes to their mind. However, Japan has much more to offer. My favorite place is Shikoku, one of the four main islands of Japan that is considered very rural. The island that is famous for its 88 temple pilgrimage offers a diverse and breathtaking landscape. People from the little villages still live at their own pace in a strong contrast to the hectic city life. I cannot help but mention the great seafood and vegetables that are offered by this wonderful island.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA STUDIES
Academic Background: My studies combined anthropology as major with political science and history as minors – partly at Humboldt-Universität Berlin and Brunel University of West London, but primarily at Freie Universität Berlin, where I also obtained my PhD in 2003 joining the Odisha Research Project funded by the German Research Council/DFG.
My research in a nutshell: My research focuses on two somewhat interrelated fields – namely political anthropology including state transformations, kingship and issues around democracy on the one hand and visual culture especially photography on the other hand. While I have focussed on different parts of India, particularly Middle and Eastern India, lately I have developed an interest in the study of visual systems and visible culture as well as circulations of images and objects beyond India which led to a recently launched FKK project “Constructing the Ocean. Indian Ocean Infrastructures and Thick Transregionalism”.
If you would not be a researcher, what do you think would be your profession today and why? If I would be forced to pick another profession, I am quite sure I would turn to photography, which has been a passion for quite a while and the camera has been a constant companion. Photography has the power to capture and freeze moments, otherwise lost, but at the same, in the best case, can add to a scene and reveal more than what is visible at first sight – and perhaps can tell a story. Thinking of photography, it is not only about clicking pictures, but also about the social life of images, what we do with photographs that entertain, bore or haunt us.
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR HINDI, INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA STUDIES
Academic Background: I have my B.A. from DDU Gorakhpur University in Hindi Literature, English Literature and Sociology. Later I moved to Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi for my Masters in Hindi and completed MPhil and PhD from there as well. for M.Phil. in Hindi translation I wrote my dissertation on Analysis of the Hindi Translation of Salman Rushdie’s Novel “Midnight’s Children” in a Post-Colonial Perspective”. I wrote my thesis for PhD in Hindi Translation on An Analytical Study of English Translations of “Bijak” with Special Reference to the Translations by Linda Hess-Shukdev Singh and Premprakash . I taught Hindi as a second language on all levels at JNU new Delhi at center of Indian Languages and Global Studies Program which was a joint-venture between J.N.U., Natal University Durban, South Africa, and Albert Ludwig University, Freiburg, Germany. Later I joined American Embassy as a Hindi Teacher in Post language program before coming to Aarhus. I also have been associated with Research Projects of MIT JPAL, Boston as a translator and Interpreter for many years.
My research in a nutshell: My PhD was focused on Translation of Early modern Hindi Bhakti Poetry. In recent years I have been working on different aspects of Hindi Language such as Changing Hindi in Web based content, Hindi of Indian Politics. Currently I am working on Hindi swear words: their linguistic roots and usages in various aspects of Indian society.
What is your favorite place in South Asia and why? My favorite place is my alma mater JNU as its a global villages comprising students from all over the world. It gave a world view of many things when I came to university from a small town. The university have a culture of debate and discussions and as we used to say on campus you learn not only in the class but more outside the class where you debate and discuss on everything from Indian society to global politics over endless cups of warm chai!
Academic Background: I have a Master of Arts in Japanese History from Columbia University, an ABD in International Education Development from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a PhD in Japanese History from University of Copenhagen.
My research in a nutshell: Working at the United Nations and the Frederick Douglass Academy in New York led me to ask research questions from the vantage point of Japanese history, but with an increasingly global scope. F.ex. ‘Why monolingual dictionaries for all of Japan anno 1879 required a simplification of visions for a Japanese National Language?’ and ‘Why and how Japanese Official Development Assistance is also a global cultural history about expansive networks of private sector employees in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America?.’ Currently, I am leading a transdisciplinary research project with Danish and Ghanaian researchers, who investigate and discuss the impact of the implementation of a master plan for transport in Ghana – originally prepared by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2014.
What is your favorite dish from Japan and why? My favorite Japanese dish is Okonomiyaki with mochi, because I enjoy sitting around tables preparing and eating the dish with colleagues and friends in Japan. I particularly like that it is served with Japanese mayonnaise. As a mayonnaise connoisseur, I appreciate the distinctive features of this egg and oil composition in many different parts of the world.
Academic Background: I obtained a bachelor’s degree from the School of Government at Nanjing University (2011) and a Ph.D. from the Department of Government and Public Administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2017). I also held visiting positions at the East Asian Institute of the National University of Singapore and the Harvard–Yenching Institute. From 2018 to 2021, I was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Vienna.
My research in a nutshell: My first area of research focuses on state–society relations in contemporary China. Drawing on a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, I look at the ways in which Chinese citizens express demands without voting. I also probe into the reasons for a government that is not popularly elected to respond to citizens’ demands.
My second project reveals how the Chinese government has attempted to secure a safe and adequate blood supply and why it has repeatedly fallen short of doing so. More broadly, I am interested in worldwide political efforts to provide human blood and other public goods that rely on individuals’ voluntary compliance.
What is your favorite place in China? My favorite place in China is my hometown of Suzhou. Though its current population is over 10 million, when I was a child, I believed it was a small city outside Shanghai. At age 18, therefore, I decided to venture out into the bigger world. I’ve since lived on different continents and no longer call Suzhou home.
Suzhou is brimming with cultural heritage and scenic beauty. My cherished memories of the city include exquisite classical gardens, elegant ballad singing (pingtan), and the misty Tai Lake. I also miss the savory goodness of the city’s signature meat-filled mooncakes.
Academic Background: I did Asian Studies at Griffith University, Australia specializing in development studies. My honours thesis examined the emerging role of markets in centrally planned economies such as the PRC. For my PhD, my academic interestes shifted to Latin America and for my thesis I looked at banking sector reforms in Central America during the 1980s and 1990s. My first post PhD job was at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, where I conducted research on the interaction between microfinance and the subsitence economy. This line of research carried on when I took up a research position at the Foundation for Development Cooperation in Brisbane in 2008. My interest in the South Pacific continued but in a different setting. In, 2010 I accepted a position at the Center for Social Responsibility in Mining at the Universty of Queensland where I conducted research on the socio-economic impacts of mining projects. In 2012, I took up a position as senior social scientist with giant consulting firm Worley. After wrecking havoc in other parts of the world, the Global Financial Crisis finally arrived in Australia and the company lost many contracts in a matter of months, which resulted in I reduntancy for many, including me. I dedicated the next 18 months to taking care of my 2 daughters and wife: cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, washing clothes, taking kids to kindergarten and school, entertaining them after school and organising the home front while my wife worked full time. Being a stay at home dad is the most difficult job I’ve had so I salute all those who do it. In 2014, I move to Denmark with my whole family to start my current position. You can visit the PURE page to find out more about my professional self.
My research in a nutshell: I specialize in the governance of natural resources. I also look at the socio-economic impacts of non-renewable resource extraction in Latin America, the South Pacific and Greenland. My most recent project deals with finding economic alternatives for rural communities in El Salvador.
If you would not be a researcher, what do you think would be your profession today and why? It is difficult for me to think of any other profession, other than being a researcher but I do have another passion: cooking! I love cooking for myself and others because I get into a very good mood almost every time I cook. My favorite is food from South East Asia but I also like cooking my own version of Indian, Latin American and Italian food. I’m a vegetarian so finding interesting vegetarian recipes from around the world is one of my favorite past times. If one day, I get tired of being a researcher, I think I may buy a food truck and start selling my dishes to people.
Academic Background: I have a BA summa cum laude in International Relations from the University of Minnesota, and an MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.
My research in a nutshell: My research has always revolved around politics and culture in one form or another. Over the years I have studied several social movements including the Global Justice Movement, the British Anti-Roads Movement, and Spain’s 15-M “Indignados” Movement, which emerged following the 2008 global financial crash. I have also done research on victims of terrorism and how they have been instrumentalized by political elites. Some of †he puzzles that have motivated my research have been questions like “What makes heterogeneous groups of people able to work together in the absence of any external incentive (e.g. getting paid to) or common identity?” or “Does email help facilitate democratic forms of participation or does it actually exacerbate offline hierarchies?”. These kinds of puzzles lead to my theoretical insights, such as my work on collective identity or social movement innovation on democracy.
What is your favorite place and why? I have many favorite places. One of them is Granada in Spain. It is the result of many beautiful and rich cultures, (Moors, Romans, Jews and Christians). The food traditions are Arab-Andalucían with strong Arab and Jewish heritage. The Alhambra is spectacular and the setting is stunning with the Sierra Nevada mountains all around and the intense blue sky. I love the architecture, all the tea shops, and the feeling of proximity to North Africa. The hammam is really beautiful too and wandering through the Albaicín connects me to the past. Finally, in Granada they go crazy with the tapas, you can drink a soda or a glass of wine and get enough food to call it dinner. It is just a magical place.
Academic Background: I have an unconventional background as an academic. I trained in global and transnational histories of philosophy, science, and art through a DPhil in Global History at the University of Oxford (2016-2021) and a BA in History of Art at Goldsmiths, University of London (2005-2008). In between these two degrees, I worked as a contemporary art curator, writer, and manager specializing in cross-disciplinary projects. I ran my own program in London through a multi-year curatorial fellowship funded by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs. As a young person, I was also involved in activism against social and environmental injustices. My current academic work is informed by the knowledge and practice I gained from various environments both within and beyond the university setting.
My research in a nutshell: My work examines how scientist-polymaths in modern Japan drew on diverse forms of knowledge from both Asian and European lineages and created interdisciplinary paradigms that recognize the inseparable connections between humans and nature. These individuals lived during a time of extraordinary social and environmental change driven by competing visions of “civilizational progress.” However, the dominant idea of “progress” often resulted in increased inequality, racism, and degradation of ecological habitats. The language and methods of producing disciplinary knowledge at modern universities typically emerged within this paradigm. I shed light on the underlying logic of the polymaths’ thoughts and actions, which challenged the boundaries and assumed conventions of this knowledge system.
If you would not be a researcher, what do you think would be your profession today and why? A farm-to-table chef. From maintaining a kitchen garden to learning basic carpentry skills, I love getting my hands dirty to create something precious that can be shared. Cooking is where art, science, and ecology intersect in such a process. My current profession allows me to bring these branches of knowledge together in the form of theoretical reasoning based on concrete evidence. Cooking also elevates this through the tacit conversation of our five senses. While I may remain a historian, I would be excited to collaborate with a like-minded cook to bring these comparable approaches from two different professions together one day!
Associate Professor in India and South Asia Studies
Academic Background: I have a PhD in sociocultural anthropology, with a minor in medical anthropology, from the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, USA. I came to the PhD by way of a MA in South Asia Studies at the National University of Singapore, and prior to that, I had received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, also from the National University of Singapore. Along the way, I worked in advertising and in educational/academic publishing.
My research in a nutshell: I am a sociocultural and medical anthropologist with a regional focus on South Asia, particularly urban India, and my research interests are centered on interactions between the body and its environment, globalizing processes, and consumption practices. My current research revolves around how the environmental and health costs of rampant plastic use and disposal are experienced and comprehended differently in different local contexts. The project has been supported by a Homi Bhabha Fellowship and a Carlsberg Young Researcher Fellowship. Previous research interests have included lived experiences of polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder and the leading cause of female infertility worldwide, and explorations of how post-liberalization marketing discourses and consumption practices affect understandings of the body in India.
What is your favorite book? It is hard to settle on one, but it might just be Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis. No matter how many times I read it, it never stops being funny, and it is, after all, a campus novel. A very close second: Amitav Ghosh’s In an Antique Land, for being an anthropological novel following a historical connection between the region I specialize in (India) and another part of the globe (Egypt).
Academic Background: Master’s degree in Chinese and international education and PhD in Chinese migration, both from Copenhagen University
My research in a nutshell: My research focuses on migration, diaspora, globalization and international relations in relation to China and the impact in general of mobility and especially in regard to cultural identities. I am interested in the consequences of China’s diaspora policies and their impact on transnational relations. In addition, I do research on Chinese diplomacy expressed on social media like Twitter based on big data analysis. I am also engaged in research on how to strengthen intercultural competence and communication in relation to the globalization of Danish companies.
Academic Background:I have a PhD in Russian as a foreign language from the University of Leningrad (Skt. Petersburg) and have taught Russian at university for over 40 years both in Russia and in Odense and Aarhus.
My research in a nutshell: I have done research in the field of ethnolinguistics – how language reflects culture – but as a teaching associate professor, the focus of my work is teaching rather than research, so I use my expertise in ethnolinguistics to show our students how the language can help them understand the culture. Recently I have devoted my time to developing teaching materials to help our students pick up the Russian language more effectively. I have also been participating in a project financed by the National Center of Foreign Languages, where my students are partnered with Russian students who are learning Danish, so that they can practice with each other and discuss various topics, which is tremendously helpful both for learning the language and familiarizing themselves with the culture.
What is your favorite book?My favorite book is Dostoyevskij’s “The Brothers Karamazov”. First of all, this novel captivated me the way a great piece of crime fiction does. And while it is indeed a crime novel, as many of Dostoyevskij’s novels are, the most important thing about it is Dostoyevskij’s thoughts about the “Russian mentality” and about concepts such as the meaning of life, responsibility, what love is and so on.