Prof. Dr. Ulla Johansen passed away

On 14th of February 2021 in her 94th year of life a great person, colleague in Arctic Anthropology and professor emerita of ethnology, Ulla Johansen passed away. Born in Estonia she grew up in a multicultural environment, moved with her parents to Germany, where she studied anthropology after the war in Hamburg. It was her early interests in nomadic and Turkic speaking communities that let her turn to do research on the Sakha and the Soyot cultures and shamanism. Especially in the Republic of Sakha/Yakutia she became a leading figure of scientific exchange and founded in 2012 a scholarship hosted by the German DAAD and named after her. It allows Sakha doctoral candidates specializing in the areas of ethnology, musicology, social sciences or linguistics to receive a six-month research grant and gain experience in Germany. As head of the institute of ethnology at University of Cologne she had a profound effect on generations of German anthropologists, among them some of today’s leading Arctic anthropologists.

One thought on “Prof. Dr. Ulla Johansen passed away

  1. fstammle

    A passionate anthropologist in the best tradition of our discipline. I enjoyed her presence as emeritus director in the 1990s when studying at the department in Cologne. One could see how her spirit was living on among staff and students even after her retirement. She would come to the afternoon coffee breaks from time to time and engage in informal discussions. Today we often talk in ethical and moral dimensions about indigenous empowerment, co-production of knowledge, and partnerships with people in the field. Back in her time there was no such discourse as such, but she just DID that, without making a big fuzz about it. A good example for us to go beyond noble intentions in our cooperation with our friends and colleagues in the field.

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