Ulrik Høj Johnsen - New PhD at the Department of Anthropology

Ulrik will be working on a project titled: ’Reassessing the value of a museum collection’

11.03.2016 | Camilla Dimke

Under the title ’Reassessing the value of a museum collection’ my Ph.D. project focuses on value, museum collections and cultural heritage. The project is a part of the research project ‘Precious Relics: Materiality and Value in the Practice of Ethnographic Collection’ under the leadership of Associate Professor Cameron David Warner. The empirical foundation of the project is a museum collection placed in Moesgaard Museum. The objects were collected in 1948 and 1949 in two settings: the Afghan province of Nuristan and the Kalasha valleys in NW Pakistan by Lennart Edelberg and Halfdan Siiger, respectively. Most of the objects bear reference to the Kafir religion and cosmology, which was abandoned in Nuristan in 1896, but which is still practiced among the Kalasha. The project will investigate how these two source communities relate to and ascribe value to the collected objects, photos and sound recordings today. Furthermore, it will describe the social history of this material – seen as cultural heritage – and how it has been ascribed value through time and place.

As a methodological tool I will plan and create two smaller exhibitions in Kabul and in a Kalasha Museum which will be co-curated with members of the source communities. The project is a continuation of a collecting and research tradition in the Hindu Kush area that goes back to the Third Danish Expedition to Central Asia 1947-50.