Collective research projects with a focus on Asia

An increasing number of exciting collective projects relating to Asia are unfolding at the University of Copenhagen. Visit the project websites below and learn more about ongoing Asia research at the Humanities and Social Sciences.  

The Faculty of Humanities

Department of Arts and Cultural Studies

ROCA: Robot Culture and Aesthetics 
What is a robot, and how do we imagine the future relationship between humans and robots? The ROCA project aims at uniting cultural and aesthetic theories with practice-based insights in order to imagine, theorize, and create new types of human-technology interaction.

Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies

Between homogenization and fragmentation: textual practices as strategies of integration and identity maintenance among the Uyghurs of Xinjiang, China (20th‒21st centuries) 
Ildiko Beller Hann, Dept. Of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
Velux Foundation, 2017-20
Using the concepts of homogenization and fragmentation, this interdisciplinary project explores textual strategies employed by Turkic speaking Muslims (nowadays known as the Uyghur) to demarcate and sustain their ethno-religious group identity and negotiate their subjecthood within the Chinese polity in the 20th and early 21st centuries. It emphasizes multiple, cross-cutting loyalties and senses of belonging, indigenous subjectivity, local practice and agency.

Buddhism, Business and Believers
Trine Brox, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
Danish Research Council for Independent Research Ɩ Humanities (FKK) 2015-19 and Carlsberg Foundation, 2015-18
The aim of this research project is to gain novel insights into the manner that Buddhism mediates value within the exchanges of materiality and spirituality, opening up a new field of research approaching the correlation between religion and economics through triangulating the concepts of exchange, value and materiality.

Emerging worlds: Explorations in New South-South Connections
Ravinder Kaur, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
Danish Research Council for Independent Research Ɩ Humanities (FKK), 2014-2018
The ‘Emerging Worlds’ research program embarks upon a collective enquiry into the yet unfolding, and accelerated phenomenon of south-south connections between Asia, Africa and Latin America. Through grounded ethnographies in a number of locations within Asia and Africa, the project seeks to rethink the idea of the Global South and the ways in which it presents itself as a political-economic force in the 21st century.

Escalations: A Comparative Ethnographic Study of Accelerating Change
Lars Højer, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
Danish Research Council for Independent Research Ɩ Humanities (FKK), 2014-18
The project’s aim is to understand and theorize escalating processes from an anthropological perspective. Through a comparison of different ethnographic settings, it will examine the shared features of contemporary escalations, defined as accelerating and unpredictable changes that involve ripple effects, transformations of scale and intense imaginations of past and future.

Moral Economies of Food in Contemporary China: An Ethnographic Investigation of Relational Ethics through Foodstuffs
Mikkel Bunkenborg, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
Danish Research Council for Independent Research Ɩ Humanities (FKK), 2016-20

Yiwu - Trust, Global Traders, and Commodities in a Chinese International City
PI Professor Magnus Marsden, University of Sussex; Vera Skvirskaja, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
ERC Advanced Grant
Sub-project on on the activities of Russian and Ukrainian traders in Yiwu, as well as the changing nature of trading structures in their home countries by Vera Skvirskaja

Department of Media, Cognition and Communication

The Peoples' Internet (PIN)
PI Professor Klaus Bruhn Jensen
Semper Ardens Research Project, Carlsberg Foundation, 2016-20
The PIN project compares the current state and future potential of the internet in three centers of the global economy and world politics – China, Europe, and the United States – focusing on the interplay of civil society with the other two key sectors of modern societies: market and state. 

The Faculty of Social Sciences

Department of Anthropology

"After money, what is debt?": Indebted urban poor households in emerging cashless economies
Atreyee Sen, Dept. of Anthropology
Independent Research Fund Denmark, 2018-2021
The project relies on ethnographic fieldwork among the urban poor in Denmark/Romania, Brazil and India. Field methods in all sites will also include studying state-led cashlessness through interviews with bank management, techdesigners and public officials (as expert interviewees) on offering formal credit to the urban poor.

Global Europe: Constituting Europe from the outside in through artefacts
Oscar Salemink, Dept. of Anthropology
Danish Research Council for Independent Research, Sapere Aude Advanced Grant, 2015-20
The project explores how the collection, circulation, classification and museum exhibition of objects define Europe from the outside in during Europe’s present loss of global hegemony – especially in relation to Japan and four non-European BRICS countries (Brazil, China, India, South Africa), in comparison with the early modern period of European ascendancy.

HERILIGION – The heritagization of religion and the sacralization of heritage in contemporary Europe
Oscar Salemink, Dept. of Anthropology
HERA – Humanities in the Research Area, 2016-19

Living Together with Chronic Disease: Informal Support for Diabetes Management in Vietnam
Tine Gammeltoft, Dept. of Anthropology
Minstry of Foreign Affairs, 2018-2022
The project aims to contribute to developing innovative models for active involvement of informal support persons in day-to-day disease management, while also enhancing Vietnamese and Danish research capacities in the NCD field and offering new knowledge on the connections between informal support and everyday diabetes care.

Sensing Old Age: Travelling Technologies and the configurations of ageing in Denmark and Korea
Line Hillersdal & Kristina Grünenberg, Dept. of Anthropology
The project is supported by the Nordea Foundation and part of the Center for Healthy Aging, UCPH.

VITAL. The Vitality of Disease - Quality of Life in the Making
Ayo Wahlberg, Dept. of Anthropology
ERC Starting Grant, 2015-2020
More people than ever before are living with (especially chronic) diseases. As a consequence, sustained efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality rates have been joined by systematised efforts to improve the lives – the quality of life – of those living with disease in ways that are measurable and auditable. The VITAL project will empirically investigate and analyse the making of ‘quality of life’.

Economics Department

Human Capital, Education and the Global Economy
Jakob Roland Munch, Dept. of Economics
Danish Council for Independent Research, Social Sciences, 2016-20

Myanmar – REALM – REintegration through Active Labour Market Reforms

Myanmar - Towards Inclusive Development in Myanmar

Vietnam - Enhancing the Effectiveness of Vocational Education in Vietnam (EEVE)

Vietnam - The Impact of Inequality on Growth, Human Development and Governance @EQUAL