About Morten Nielsen

Here you can find information about Morten Nielsen, his academic background, and his past and current projects.

Photo by Christian Vium

Photo by Christian Vium

I am a social anthropologist working in Mozambique, Scotland and USA on the interrelationship between time and materiality. Since 2010 I have been based at Aarhus University where I am now an associate professor at the Department of Anthropology and coordinator of the interdisciplinary research network Urban Orders (URO).

I am head of two interdisciplinary research projects: ‘Middle class urbanism: An interdisciplinary study of the physical reordering of urban sub-Saharan Africa’ funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research. Humanities (FKK) and ‘Digressions: A cross-disciplinary study of the indirectness of the human imagination’, which is an AUFF NOVA research project funded by Aarhus Research Fund.

My first major fieldwork project was in Recife, Brazil (2000-2001) among community leaders in poor urban neighbourhoods. Since 2004 I have been working in Mozambique doing ethnographic research on house-building and urban planning in Maputo and on the socio-economic effects of Chinese infrastructure projects in various parts of the country.

My most recent fieldwork is carried out in New York in the spring of 2017 as part of the ‘Digressions’ research project and focuses on the indirectness of the human imagination in stand-up comedy.

Based on fieldwork in Brazil, Scotland and Mozambique, I have published on issues such as urban aesthetics, time and temporality, materiality, urban planning, relational ontologies and political cosmologies. I am currently completing a book manuscript with Morten Axel Pedersen and Mikkel Bunkenborg, University of Copenhagen, based on a  comparative ethnographic research project on Chinese infrastructural interventions in Mozambique and Mongolia and an edited volume on the composition of anthropology with Nigel Rapport, University of St. Andrews.