Rane Willerslev

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Rane Willerslev
Fields Anthropology
Institutions University of Manchester, Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo
Known for Professor of Anthropology

Rane Willerslev is a Danish anthropologist who will be director of the National Museum of Denmark from 1 July 2017.

Early life and education[edit]

Willerslev was born in Gentofte north of Copenhagen as the son of the historian Richard Willerslev and the monozygotic twin of Eske Willerslev. He attended Ordrup Gymnasium. He studied at the University of Manchester where he was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Visual Anthropology in 1996. His 2003 PhD degree was from the University of Cambridge. Willerslev’s main field of research has been hunting and spiritual knowledge of the indigenous peoples of Siberia, amongst whom he lived (in the beginning along with his identical twin brother, Eske Willerslev, an evolutionary biologist, and later alone for three years).[1]


From 2004 to 2006 Willerslev was associate professor at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology in the Department for Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. In 2006 he returned to Denmark to assume a position as director of the Ethnographic Collections at Moesgård Museum[2][3] and was also appointed an associate professor at the University of Aarhus, In 2010, he was given a full professorship.

From September 2011 to September 2013, he was the director of the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. He then returned to Aarhus where he led the arctic research area at the Institute for Anthropology, Archaeology and Linguistics. In April 2017, it was announced that he had been appointed to director of the National Museum of Denmark with effect from 1 July.[4]


The author of several scientific articles, chapters in books and newspaper articles, including contributions on vision and visiology, animism, phenomenology and other anthropological topics, he has also brought out books: Hunting and Trapping in Siberia, which appeared in 2000 (Arctic Information); Soul Hunters: Hunting, Animism and Personhood among the Siberian Yukaghirs, published in 2007 (University of California Press), and On the Run in Siberia, published in 2012 (University of Minnesota Press). Since 2009, Willerslev has been the editor of Acta Borealia: Nordic Journal of Circumpolar Societies. He is also the editor (with Dorthe Refslund Christensen) of the book, Taming Time, Timing Death, published in 2012 (Asgate) and (with Christian Suhr) Transcultural Montage, published in 2013 (Berghahn).

Both in 2006 and 2010, Willerslev was awarded the ‘Elite Researcher’s Awards’ by the Independent Research Councils of Denmark. In 2010, Willerslev gave the Malinowski Memorial Lecture at London School of Economics.

Personal life[edit]

Villerslev married in 2006 and has a daughter (born 2007).[5]

See also[edit]