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Ulla Johansen Biography

Ulla Johansen Biography

Prof. Dr. Ulla Johansen was born to a family of a German mother and a Danish father (historian Paul Johansen) in 1927 in Estonia. Resident in Germany since 1940, she gained her PhD at the University of Hamburg in 1953 and she became a "scientific unskilled worker" at the Hamburg Museum of Ethnology (1954-55). She continued her academic career with fieldwork research in Turkey (1956-57). After her research in Turkey she returned the Hamburg Museum of Ethnology as Fellow in 1958 and worked in various Scandinavian museums in 1959.


She continued her career as senior scientific Associate at the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Institute of Ethnography (1960-61) where she later became the Head of South and East Asia (1962-65). She contined her career as assistant at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University (1966-68), lecturer at the South Asia Institute (1969-72), and professor and Director of the Institute of Ethnology at the University of Cologne (1973-90). She was appointed chairman of the Technical Committee of Ethnology of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (1976-80) and project manager of the Ethnology Collaborative Research Centre of the DFG "Tubingen Atlas of the Middle East" (1980-95).


Additionally, she became member of the selection committee of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (1981-2001) and chairman of the German Anthropological Association (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde, DGV) (1985-1989) of which she became honorary member since 1997.


Since her retirement in 1990, she continued visiting professorships at the Universities of Leipzig and Dorpat (Tartu) and the Academy "Humanitar Institute" in Reval (Tallinn). She also carried out fieldwork in Estonia. She was also President of Societas Uralo-Altaica (1998-2007)


Her other achievements were winning the Werner Heisenberg Medal for "outstanding achievements in the promotion of international scientific cooperation" (1999), medal of the "International Society for Shamanistic Research" for work on shamanism (2001), and medal and certificate of honor of the Parliament of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) (2008).


Her research interests Her area of interests include ethnohistory, ethnology, material culture, social organization, cognitive structures, religion, especially Shamanism, and geographical locations such as Middle East and Central Asia, Siberia, East-Europe.


Research projects Ethnological studies of immigrant workers in Germany formed a former research focus of the Cologne Institute of Ethnology. Research on "The Shaman in the Mirror of Science" was funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which had a staff of two approved annual scholarships: Prof. Dr. Agnes Birtalan (ELTE, Budapest) and Prof. Dr. Dilmurat Omar (University Urumqi / Uygur Autonomous region, Chinese VR). Both have gained many years of experience in shamanistic traditions in the northwestern Mongolia or at Kyrgyzen, Kazakhs and Uyghur in Central Asia. The project was a joint work to build systematic analyses of the previous shamanistic research to evaluate their methodology and make suggestions for further work.

Source: Information about Prof. Dr. Ulla Johansen extracted from the website of University of Cologne, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Institute of Ethnology (http://ethnologie.phil-fak.uni-koeln.de/johansen.html?&L=0)

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