Karen Blixens Vej 4, 2300 København S, KUA2, Building: 10-4-39
Primary fields of research
Thus far, academic focuses have in particular been contemporaneous issues in Tibet and the Tibetan diaspora regarding culture, democracy, elites, exile, gift exchange, government-in-exile, minorities, modernities, secularisms and the configuration of religion and politics. I am also deeply involved in issues regarding conceptual history and the multi-layered process of translation within and between cultures.
All my research reflects my cross-faculty educational background in the social sciences (University of Tromsø) and the humanities (University of Copenhagen). I have conducted fieldwork amongst Tibetans living in Tibet, China, India and Nepal, applying ethnographic research methods when living, participating in, and observing Tibetan communities.
Current research projects include
(1) Buddhism, Business and Believers. The project enquires into contemporary relations between business and Buddhism. The aim is to gain novel insights into the manner that Buddhism becomes an agent mediating distinctions between virtue and value, spirituality and materiality, gifts and commodities – and therefore also subscribes meaning to objects, actions and human relations. TheDanish Council for Independent Research | Humanities (Feb. 2015 - Aug. 2019) funds this international, collaborative and interdisciplinary research project. Additionally, the Carlsberg Foundation has granted funding towards a post. doc. position for Elizabeth Williams Ørberg (Sept. 2015 - Feb. 2018) that is organised under the BBB-umbrella. See: http://ccrs.ku.dk/research/projects/buddhism-business-and-believers/
(2) Prince Peter and the Third Danish Expedition to Central Asia. Collaborative research project with Dr. Miriam Koktvedgaard Zeitzen and the National Museum of Denmark. The focus of this project is Prince Peter’s ethnographic knowledge production during the seven years he spent in the north-east Indian Himalayan town of Kalimpong during 1950-1957. Here, he was part of and later leader of the Third Danish Expedition to Central Asia. The aim of the project is to trace the biographies of Prince Peter and his Tibetan collaborators and the biographies of the Tibetan artefacts, accounts and anthropometry he collected. Research into the Danish archives began in the summer of 2014 and Kalimpong in 2015.
(3) Democracy the ‘Tibetan Way’ is a study of democracy and democratisation among Tibetan exiles living in India since 1959. The project’s point of departure is that democracy is a constructed concept and the project thus questions democracy as a predefined and universally applicable concept. Instead it aims to show how democracy cannot move in time and space without translation, and looks at how democracy is translated by Tibetans in India and how their translations—contained within the framework of the Tibetans’ freedom struggle—manifest in institutions, procedures, political cultures and discourses. Research has been conducted in Tibetan communities in India since 2005.
Tibetans in exile
Minorities in China
Democracy in Asia
Buddhism and economy