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The Carlsberg Foundation Nomad Research Project

Cultural anthropologist Ida Nicolaisen, Senior Researcher at NIAS, has successfully completed a major research initiative: The Carlsberg Foundation Nomad Research Project with the publication of Mongol Herders (2017). The book is by Christel Braae and the fifteenth and last volume in a series of major publications, which is the outcome of the research effort. It is  the third among these about the Mongols, the other volumes being Martha Boyer: Mongol Jewelry (1995), and Henny Harald Hansen: Mongol Costumes (1993). Denmark has a century old scholarly tradition of studying pastoral nomads in the wide belt of deserts and steppes, which reach from Mauretania, across the Sahara and Middle East through Central Asia and into China.  Many of these research endeavors brought back huge collections of documents,  photos,  recordings of oral histories and music,  thousands of ethnographic specimen: tents, clothing, jewelry and utensils now in Danish museums as well as data on pastoral histories, subsistence patterns, trade, craftsmanship, cultures and social life. In view of the fact, that continued fieldwork among nomadic peoples in Afghanistan and Chad had in fact become impossible by the 1980s, that a huge amount of  valuable cultural and social anthropological research from various pastoral peoples nomads  was largely unpublished, and that the ethnographic collections had not been scientifically described, the research project was launched in 1986. In 1992 Ida Nicolaisen was appointed Editor-in- Chief of the publications,  initially planned as seven volumes, but over time the publications grew to more than the double to cope with the huge amount of scientific material. Ida Nicolaisen has authored three of the volumes herself: The Pastoral Tuareg I-II, (1997)(with J. Nicolaisen) and Elusive Hunters. The Haddad of Kanem and the Bahr-el-Ghazal (2007). Besides these, she has edited the other volumes in the series including Esther Fihl: Exploring Central Asia I-II (2002), which describes Ole Olufsen’s travels in Turkmenistan,  Kirghizstan and the Pamirs; four volumes on Afghan pastoral nomads:  Birthe Frederiksen: Caravans and Trade in Afghanistan( 1995); Gorm Pedersen: Afghan Nomads (1994); Asta Olesen: Afghan Craftsmen (1994); and  Klaus Ferdinand: Afghan Nomads(2006). Included is also Schuyler Jones: Tibetan Nomads (1996), which describes Prince Peter’s impressive ethnographic collection from Tibet; Inge Demant Mortensen: Nomads of Luristan (1993); and Klaus Ferdinand: Bedouins of Qatar 1993).

Read more about the Danish Nomad research project