Emilie Wellfelt. Foto: Anders Ståhlberg/Stockholms universitet

Emilie Wellfelt


Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of History
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 D, plan 9
Postal address Historiska institutionen och Kulturvetarlinjen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

PhD with postdoctoral appointment.
I am also a trained journalist (BA in journalism) and have in different ways engaged in journalism since I graduated in 1994.


Research Areas:

  • Material and visual culture
  • Ethnohistory and oral tradition
  • Early modern society
  • Global history
  • Human-animal relations

Ongoing research

My current research project, ‘Following the feathers’, focuses on the bird of paradise – in the past and the present. Bird of paradise are famous for the male birds’ beautiful plumages. The feathers attract females, but also humans far beyond the birds’ natural habitat in the New Guinea area. It is this human fascination, and the interpretations of the birds by people from different times and places that I investigate in my project. In the historical part I focus on the period c. 1510–1610. In the present I explore the relation between hunters and the bird of paradise in the Aru Islands, west of New Guinea.

I have an interdisciplinary background in anthropology and history with a geographical specialisation on Indonesia. In 2016 I successfully defended my PhD thesis in history with the title Historyscapes in Alor: Approaching indigenous histories in eastern Indonesia. In the thesis I develop an ethnohistorical method which I call Historyscapes, which deals with history and history-making in societies, where people draw on non-literate sources. I speak Indonesian and have for a long time taken an interest in material culture, heritage, and inter-religious relations in Indonesia. In the period 2013 – 2016 I was hired by the University of Cologne in a project documenting endangered languages in the Aru Islands, in Maluku, Indonesia. In the project I worked on multi-media documentation of language, culture and oral traditions together with people from the small Ujir language community.

Last updated: July 9, 2020

Bookmark and share Tell a friend