Helena Wangefelt Ström is a PhD student in Museology at the Umeå University, with History of Ideas and Science as previous main field. Her dissertation project (started in 2012) has the preliminary title Enchanted heritage - disenchanted sacredness: The heritagisation of religion as an act of control and is based on a premodern case study set in 17th century Rome. 

The aim is to explore 17th century Grand Tour travellers from Lutheran Sweden, where the debate about threatening Catholic influences was high, and how they percieved and described Catholic objects, practices and traditions when visiting Rome. The project focuses on the heritage production process, the 'heritagisation', and the process when religion is transformed into heritage as a possible act of control and domestication of the threatening and the uncontrollable. Theories concerning materiality, authenticity and performativity, as well as Max Weber's concept of 'disenchantment', and a critical approach to the heritage field form a theoretical framework.

Helena is part of the interdisciplinary research group UGPS – Umeå Group for Premodern Studies – and is associated to the Istituto Svedese di Studi Classici in Rome during the academic year 2013/14.


Research interests: Heritage production and heritage politics; History of religion; History of ideas; Visual culture; Material culture; Relics; Museum culture and authenticity; Religious controversies; History of emotions; Grand Tour and tourism; Digital Humanities.

Research blog: http://holysmokephdblog.blogspot.se

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