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.
Academic Background: I hold a Ph.D. from the Johannes-Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Germany, awarded with distinction 2014, and an M.A. in Comparative Literature with Russian form the University of Copenhagen. I am author of an illustrated monograph on contemporary Russian book design and print culture The New Russian Book. A Graphic Cultural History (New Directions in Book History, Palgrave, 2017). Before entering academia, I have worked as curator at the Workers’ Museum in Copenhagen and as Danish teacher at the Maxim Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow.
My Research in a Nutshell: My research is focused on Russian visual and material culture, Soviet and post-Soviet print culture, and media history. Recent research projects are related to Soviet children’s books, the history of Soviet paper, and late Cold War ‘book diplomacy’.
Academic Background: Dr. phil. (History) Freie Universität Berlin. I did my MA in History at the University of Essex, Colchester, where I was able to specialize in Brazilian history. Before that I studied History and Economics at Freie Universität Berlin.
My research in a nutshell: I am broadly interested in nature-society relations, science and knowledge, and North-South inequalities. My regional focus is Latin America and its connections to the wider world with a particular emphasis on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Brazil. My ongoing research deals with agriculture, migration and environmental change in savanna-like landscapes in several South American countries. Using comparative, transnational and global history approaches, I examine state-led agricultural colonization programs since the Second World War as contested materializations of “modern” visions of rurality. I have previously worked on the history of knowledge about Brazil’s mineral resources, and I keep a strong interest in material history/Stoffgeschichte, natural collections, infrastructures and supply chains. I am furthermore interested in framings of global justice and emerging transnational memory practices in the context of the climate emergency.
What is your favorite place in Brazil? Downtown São Paulo is the most amazing place in the world. It has seen cycles of boom and bust, and it keeps attracting newcomers who seek their luck in this beautifully crazy and scary city. I begin most trips to Brazil observing street artists and preachers around Anhangabaú, enjoying Japanese food in Liberdade or visiting exhibitions on Avenida Paulista or at Luz station before taking a bus to my final destination. For almost 15 years my research has repeatedly brought me to the State of Minas Gerais, a region whose landscapes and history continue to fascinate me.
I hold a BA from Ca’ Foscari University, Venice where I studied Cultural Heritage and Anthropology, and a one-year Master in Inter-Mediterranean Mediation from Ca’ Foscari and the University of Montpellier. Later on I completed a MA in Anthropology at the University of Bologna, where I graduated cum laude with a thesis in Medical Anthropology. I am currently completing my PhD in Anthropology at AU. Before embarking on my PhD journey I have worked many years in the tourism industry and as a copywriter. I have been teaching Global Society at our department since 2020.
My research in a nutshell
I have been working in San Dionisio, a Huave village in Southern Mexico, since 2010, conducting research on cultural and historical patterns of alcohol consumption and their link with religious conversions. This interest continues today with my coordination of the Global Drinking Project. My PhD research focuses on the changes induced by globalisation in the same village, analysing how these relate with Huave heritage and identity and give rise to competing regimes of historicity. In 2021 I started working with Vladimir Pacheco on a project funded by Western University, Canada on Historical Memory in Postwar El Salvador; my research focuses on cultural heritage and economic reconstruction. Together we also started a research project on Bitcoins in the same country.
If you would not be a researcher, what do you think would be your profession today and why?
I would work with anything that would allow me to travel and to get to know new things and people. I would probably resume my career in tourism and try to orient it towards some form of cultural/discovery travel. I would like to explore and design alternative itineraries that put the interaction with local people at the centre of the tourist experience, and promote that through forms of writing or video making addressed to the general public.
To find out more about my academic work Click Here
ANNE SOPHIE GRAUSLUND
PhD Candidate in Global Studies
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 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: 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: 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.
Associate Professor in Brazilian Studies
Academic Background: I work across disciplines and regions. I first studied European Ethnology and Cultural History and Theory (Humboldt University Berlin and London Met) before completing the international MA program in Sociology – European Societies at Freie Universität Berlin, where I also earned my doctorate within the German-Mexican Graduate School “Between Spaces: Actors, Movements and Representations of Globalization”. Prior to joining AU in 2021, I worked as guest professor in International Development at the University of Vienna and as postdoc at the Institute for Latin American Studies (Freie Universität Berlin).
My research in a nutshell: My research is concerned with social inequalities and cultural representations in our global age, vast fields in which I usually focus on contested memories, spaces, borders and belongings. Over the past years, I have studied unequal mobilities in the borderland shared by Brazil and France. I have used this and other “European elsewheres” and their borders as a magnifying glass for making the current implications of Europe’s long-standing colonial entanglements visible. More recently, I have shifted attention towards questions of how differently positioned people deal with colonial heritage in urban space as well as in cultural institutions. In terms of theory, my work usually draws on and contributes to a wide array of approaches, most prominently feminist, intersectional, decolonial, postcolonial and global social thought.
Who is your favorite ‘Global Thinker’ and why? It is difficult for me to name only one out of innumerable “global thinkers”, as I firmly believe that the most fruitful ideas emerge out of cooperative networks rather from than single individuals. That said, one of my favorite “global thinkers” is the British-Jamaican sociologist and postcolonial thinker Stuart Hall, precisely because he drew on an unusual and wide range of disciplinary expertise and cooperative networks. This allowed him to make genuinely new contributions to what we (think we) know about global inequalities and the (mis)representation of entire regions, groups, and “cultures”.
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”.