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Centre for Creative Ethnography

Helena Wulff

Helena Wulff

Helena Wulff is an anthropologist at Stockholm University. Her research interests include expressive cultural form (dance, art, images, text) in a transnational perspective. Key engagements are in the anthropologies of literature and writing. Her recent research was on writing as craft and career in Ireland. Current research evolves around migrant writing in Sweden. She has conducted field studies in Stockholm, London, New York, Frankfurt-am-Main, and Ireland.

Helena Wulff - Stockholm University (

  • Creative Methods

    2023 “Response: Calling for Creative Ethnography,” Cultural Analysis Vol. 21(1): 56-58.

    2022 ”Editorial Coda: Autobiography in Anthropology, Then and Now,”   

    Anthropological Journal of European Cultures Volume 31, No. 2 (2022): v-x doi: 10.3167/ajec.2022.310201

    2015 “In Favour of Flexible Forms: Multi-Sited Fieldwork”, in Forum: Re-thinking EuroAnthropology. Social Anthropology, 23(3): 355-357  saas-soca12216.pdf

    2012 “Instances of Inspiration: Interviewing Dancers and Writers,” in Jonathan Skinner (ed.),

    The Interview: An Ethnographic Approach. London: Routledge, pp. 163-178.

    2002 “Yo-yo Fieldwork: Mobility and Time in a Multi-Local Study of Dance in Ireland,”

    Anthropological Journal on European Cultures, issue on Shifting Grounds: Experiments in Doing

    Ethnography, vol. 11: 117-136.      

    2000 “Methods for a Multi-Locale Study of Ballet as a Career,” in Vered Amit (ed.), Constructing the Field. London: Routledge, 147-161

  • Journal Articles and Book Chapters on Literary and Artistic Production

    2023 “’Hammered by the Image’: Exceptional Experiences of Art as Aesthetic Impact,” in Petra

    Rethmann and Helena Wulff (eds.), Exceptional Experiences: Engaging with Jolting Events in Art and

    Fieldwork. Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 172-188.

    2022 ”Ambiguous Arrival: Emotions and Dislocations in the Migrant Encounter with  Sweden,”

    in Bo G. Ekelund, Adnan Mahmutović and Helena Wulff (eds.), Claiming Space: Locations and

    Orientations in World Literature. London: Bloomsbury, 217-235.    

    2020 ”Foreword,” in Cicilie Fagerlid and Michelle A. Tisdel (eds.), A Literary Anthropology  of

    Migration and Belonging: Roots, Routes, and Rhizomes. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. vii-xii.   

    2019 Writing Truth to Power: Jonas Khemiri’s Work in Stockholm and New York - Wulff - Anthropology and Humanism - Wiley Online Library

    2018 “Disaporic Divides: Location and Orientations of ’Home’ in Pooneh Rohi’s Araben,” in

    Stefan Helgesson, Annika Mörte Alling, Yvonne Lindqvist and Helena Wulff (eds.), World

    Literatures: Exploring the Cosmopolitan-Vernacular Exchange. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press,

    1. 119-128.

    2018 “Diversifying from Within: Diaspora Writings in Sweden,” in Morten Nielsen and Nigel

    Rapport (eds.), The Composition of Anthropology: How Anthropological Texts are Written. London:

    Routledge, pp. 122-136.   

    2018 “Dance, Anthropology of,” The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Edited by Hilary Callan. Oxford: JohnWiley & Sons.   

    2017 “Stories of the Soil: In the Irish Literary World”, in Diarmuid Ó Giolláin and Martine

    Segalen (eds.), Irish Ethnologies. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, pp. 141-157.    



    2017 “Greater than Its Size: Ireland in Literature and Life,” in Ulf Hannerz and Andre Gingrich

    (eds.), Small Countries: Structures and Sensibilities. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, pp.


    2017 ”Manhattan as a Magnet: Place and Circulation among Young Swedes,” in Virginia R. Dominguez and Jasmin Habib (eds.), America Observed: On an International Anthropology of the United States. Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 31-50.    

    2015 “The Pains and Peaks of Being a Ballerina in London,” in Ilana Gershon (ed.), A World of

    Work: Imagined Manuals for Real Jobs. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp. 207-220.   

    2015 “Dance, Anthropology of,” in James D. Wright (ed-in-chief), International Encyclopedia of the

    Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol. 5. Oxford: Elsevier, pp. 666-670.   

    2014 “Anthropologist in the Irish Literary World: Reflexivity through Studying   Sideways”, in Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Christina Garsten and Shalini Randeria, (eds.). Anthropology Now and Next: Essays in Honor of Ulf Hannerz. New York: Berghahn, pp. 147-161.   

    2013 “Ethnografiction and Reality in Contemporary Irish Literature,” in Marilyn Cohen (ed.),

    Novel Approaches to Anthropology: Contributions to Literary Anthropology. New York City: Lexington

    Books, pp. 205-225.   

    2013 “Dance ethnography,” in Oxford Bibliographies Online. New York: Oxford University Press.   

    2013 “Ways of Seeing Ireland’s Green: From Ban to the Branding of a Nation,” The    

    Senses and Society, 9(2): 233-240.   

    2012“Ballet Culture and the Market: A Transnational Perspective,” in Hélène Neveu-   

    Kringelbach and Jonathan Skinner (eds.), Dancing Cultures: Globalisation, Tourism and Identity. Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 46-59.    

    2012 “Color and Cultural Identity in Ireland,” in Marilyn DeLong and Barbara Martinson (eds.),

    Color and Design. London: Berg/Bloomsbury, pp. 101-109.    

    2012 “An Anthropological Perspective on Literary Arts in Ireland,” in Ullrich Kockel, Máiréad

    Nic Craith and Jonas Frykman (eds), Blackwell Companion to the Anthropology of Europe. Oxford:

    2010 ”Costume for Dance.” Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, West Europe, volume 8:

    498-502. London: Berg/Bloomsbury.   

    2010 “Colm Tóibín as Travel Writer.” Nordic Irish Studies, 9: 109-116.    

    2009 “Ethnografiction: Irish Relations in the Writing of Éilís Ní Dhuibhne,” in Rebecca Pelan (ed.), Éilís Ní Dhuibhne: Perspectives. Galway: Arlen House, pp. 245-261.    

    2009 “Ways of Watching: Dance Photography, Performance and Aesthetics.” in Ina-  

    Maria Greverus and Ute Ritschel (eds.), Aesthetics and Anthropology. Berlin: LIT, pp. 207-221.   

    2008 “Literary Readings as Performance: On the Career of Contemporary Writers in the New

    Ireland,” Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, 17: 98-113.   

    2008 ”Ethereal Expression: Paradoxes of Ballet as a Global Physical Culture,”  Ethnography, 9(4):


    2008 “To Know the Dancer: Formations of Fieldwork in the Ballet World,” in Narmala

    Halstead, Eric Hirsch and Judith Okely (eds.), Knowing How to Know: Fieldwork and Ethnographic

    Present. Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 75-91.       

    2007 “Longing for the Land: Emotions, Memory and Nature in Irish Travel Advertisements,”

    Identities 14(4): 527-544.   

    2006 “Experiencing the Ballet Body: Pleasure, Pain, Power,” in Suzel Ana Reily (ed.), The Musical

    Human: Rethinking John Blacking's Ethnomusicology in the 21st Century. Aldershot: Ashgate Press, pp.


    2005 “’High Arts’ and the Market: An Uneasy Partnership in the Transnational World of Ballet,” in David Inglis and John Hughson (eds.), The Sociology of Art. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 171-182.   

    2005 “Memories in Motion: The Irish Dancing Body,” Body & Society, issue on “the dancing

    body,” (ed.) Bryan S. Turner, vol. 11(4): 45-62.

  • More Journal Articles and Book Chapters on Literary and Artistic Production

    2003 “The Irish Body in Motion: Moral Politics, National Identity and Dance,” in Noel Dyck

    and Eduardo P. Archetti (eds.), Sport, Dance and Embodied Identities.  London: Berg/Bloomsbury,

    1. 179-196.  

    2003 “Steps and Stories about Ireland,” Choreographic Encounters, vol 1: 70-74.    

    2002 “Aesthetics at the Ballet: Looking at ‘National’ Style, Body and Clothing in the London

    Dance World,” in Nigel Rapport (ed.), British Subjects. London: Berg/Bloomsbury, pp. 67-83.   

    2001 “Dance, Anthropology of,” in Neil J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes (eds.), International

    Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, pp. 3209-3212. Oxford: Elsevier.     

    1998 “Perspectives Toward Ballet Performance: Exploring, Repairing and Maintaining Frames,”

    in Felicia Hughes-Freeland (ed.), Ritual, Performance, Media. London: Routledge, pp. 104-120.