R O S K I L D E U N I V E R S I T Y
I’m a tenured professor of American Studies. I hold the highest possible degrees that you can get in Denmark, bestowed unto me on the basis of two doctorates: a PhD (2002) in comparative literature, and a Dr.Phil. (2013) in English for a treatise on epistemologies of creative writing.
This latter degree is a remnant from the old teutonic, Germanic days. It doesn’t get you anything other than some symbolic power, but it is considered as the highest achievement. The process of getting this degree is also more rigorous than for the PhD, and there’s a tradition for the royal house to come to the graduation and shake your hand. I did it simply because I like to go all the way.
I’m also the president of the largest in the world collection of Tarot cards and esoterica, the K. Frank Jensen Collection, owned by the Roskilde University Library. The library is in the process of registering the cards, so the collection has not yet been opened to the public.
My current research focusses on various manifestations of human imagination, myth and storytelling with visual text. I like to reflect on what we call ordinary mind, the mind that perceives things dualistically and by means of contrast, and the extraordinary mind, the mind that perceives paradox and allows as well for dwelling in paradox. This is also what I call the magical mind opened towards wisdom. Reflection is good, but there’s nothing like spontaneous curiosity that has the potential to lead us to places beyond rules and conventions.
Part of my current research is to explore human imagination through storytelling on two planes: First, I see storytelling from the perspective of the interdisciplinary scholar who cuts across narrative, poetics, semiotics, and hermeneutics. Why have we invented the myths and cosmologies that we have invented? What are we thinking what we’re thinking?
Second, I perform storytelling, that is, I embody the scholar cum practitioner. My example is the anthropologist gone native, the historian of religion gone priest, and the semiotician gone fortuneteller. Why the latter? Simply because it’s interesting. I like adopting the attitude of the scholar looking inside myself as a scholar, and then asking myself: ‘Where does my scholarship come from? What informs it? What dictations color it? Who do I serve from this position, and why?’
N E W S L E T T E R
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