Astrid Kieffer-Døssing - New PhD student at the Department of Anthropology.

As of 1 September Astrid Kieffer-Døssing joins CAS with the project: "The heritage of return".

30.08.2017 | Camilla Dimke

My name is Astrid Kieffer-Døssing and from September 1st, I will begin as a PhD student at the department of anthropology. I have a background in anthropology (BA) and sustainable heritage management (MA), both from Aarhus University.

 My PhD project “The heritage of return” concerns the constitutive ambivalence between heritage as stability, continuity and preservation of essence, versus heritage as renewal and as capable of adapting to change.

My fieldwork will take place among the Katxuyana, an indigenous group who lives in the northern part of the Brazilian rainforest. In the early 2000s, after 30 years of voluntary migration, the Katxuyana returned to the place many of them consider as “their” land. The return encompasses an intricate relation between continuity and change, as the past is used as anchoring points while it simultaneously seems to challenge parts of the Katxuyana’s self-perception and thus fosters re-interpretations of the same past. That way, heritage, understood as the past in the present, is used and produced in a complex movement between essentialist claims and processual reinvention. It is this tension, I will investigate in my project.

 In my master thesis, I investigated museum collections in Denmark, Norway and England from the Katxuyana, which took me on visits to different museums as well as to the Katxuyana in Brazil. The PhD project is inspired from insights from the thesis.