Kirsten Hastrup

Kirsten Hastrup

Professor, emeritus

Primary fields of research

Iceland; Greenland; The Arctic; 

Anthropology and Nature; Social Responses to Climate Change; Knowledge and Agency; The History of Arctic Exploration; The History of Anthropology; 

coordinator of the researcher group Nature and Environmental Change.

Current research

In terms of regional interest, my primary work has been in Iceland and Greenland. In both of these places I have conducted long-term fieldwork and have delved deeply into the natural and social histories, and their conjunction. My work on Iceland resulted in three monographs and numerous articles.

Currently, my principal research is based on consecutive fieldworks in Northwest Greenland since 2007. Here we find a small community of hunters, numbering some 700 people and living mainly from the hunting of marine mammals and seabirds, using dog sledges and kayaks as principal means of transport. While small and geographically cut off from the rest of Greenland, people are of course deeply implicated in the modern world. In the wake of global climate change, the sea-ice in the region is dwindling rapidly, challenging the ancient way of life, and demanding serious reflections on the future. What cannot but amaze the anthropologist is the patience and wisdom with which they ponder their options.

My work in the region gained momentum with an Advanced Grant I received from the ERC in 2008 (c. 22 million DKK), and which allowed me to run a major comparative project, called Waterworlds, dealing with social responses to climate change across the globe in the period 2009-14 (see web page). A total of fifteen researchers – and fifteen fields – were part of this effort, out of which a number of collective volumes have sprung. The project has contributed both empirically and theoretically to dissolving the dualism between nature and society.

Since July 2014, I am PI of a new project, jointly funded by the Velux Foundations and the Carlsberg Foundation (c. 19 million DKK). It is called The NOW Project: Living Resources and Human Societies around the North Water in the Thule Area, NW Greenland. In addition to anthropologists, the project involves archaeologists and biologists. My previous work in the region continues here in a concerted, cross-disciplinary effort to understand the long-term development of the resource space shared by humans and animals under shifting climatic conditions (see web page). Both of these research efforts have resulted in numerous publications.

These regional studies have contributed vastly also to my general theoretical and methodological interests, now centring on the entanglement of natural and social processes. This is reflected also in my teaching, where most recently I am involved in the course on Environmental Anthropology, and modules on Arctic anthropology.

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Thule på tidens rand

    Hastrup, Kirsten, 2015, København: Lindhardt og Ringhof. 495 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookResearch

  2. Published

    Waterworlds: anthropology in fluid environments

    Hastrup, Kirsten (ed.) & Hastrup, Frida (ed.), 2015, Oxford, New York: Berghahn Books. 318 p. (Ethnography, Theory, Experiment, Vol. 3).

    Research output: Book/ReportAnthologyResearchpeer-review

  3. Published

    Anthropology and Nature

    Hastrup, Kirsten, 29 Jul 2013, London & New York: Routledge. 260 p. (Routledge Studies in Anthropology).

    Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

  4. Published

    Vinterens hjerte: Knud Rasmussen og hans tid

    Hastrup, Kirsten, 2010, København: Gad. 752 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

  5. Published

    The Question of Resilience: Social Responses to Climate Change

    Hastrup, Kirsten (ed.), 2009, Copenhagen: The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. 362 p. (Historisk-Filosofiske Meddelelser; No. 106).

    Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

  6. Published

    A Place Apart: An Anthropological Study of the Irelandic World

    Hastrup, Kirsten, 1998, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 227 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookResearch

  7. Published

    A Passage to Anthropology: Between Experience and Theory

    Hastrup, Kirsten, 1995, London: Routledge. 217 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookResearch

Selected activities

  1. Bestyrelsen for Danmarks Grundforskningsfond (External organisation)

    Hastrup, Kirsten (Member)

    1 Jan 2008 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership in committee, council, board

  2. Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab (External organisation)

    Hastrup, Kirsten (Chair)

    10 Apr 200830 Jun 2016

    Activity: Membership typesMembership in board of company or public organisation

ID: 13727