Helle Porsdam

Helle Porsdam


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    Helle Porsdam is Professor of Law and Humanities at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law (CIS), Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen. She teaches American culture and history in the SAXO Department, Faculty of the Humanities, University of Copenhagen, and law and humanities, the culture and history of human rights and cultural rights at the Faculty of Law. She also holds a UNESCO Chair in Cultural Rights. She did her PhD in American Studies at Yale University, has been a Liberal Arts Fellow twice at the Harvard Law School as well as a fellow at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, and the University of Munich.

    She received funding from HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) for a project on copyright, creativity and cultural heritage institutions (2010-13) and ialso headed the project, The Past's Future (2015-19), which was funded by the Velux Foundation.

    Among her monographs and edited volumes may be mentioned Legally Speaking: Contemporary Culture and the Law (1999), From Civil to Human Rights: Dialogues on Law and Humanities in the United States and Europe (2009), Copyright and Other Fairy Tales: Hans Christian Andersen and the Commodification of Creativity (2006). Her edited volume (together with Lucky Belder), Negotiating Cultural Rights: Issues at Stake, Challenges and Recommendations, came in 2017, and her monograph, The Transforming Power of Cultural Rights: A Promising Law and Humanities Approach, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2019.

    She co-edited, with Sebastian Porsdam Mann, The Right to Science: Then and Now (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and her monograph, Science As a Cultural Right, was published in the University of Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights Series in 2022.

    She was a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge in 2021.

     She is currently working on scientific freedom. 

    Primary fields of research

    Human rights, especially cultural human rights

    United States history, with special emphasis on the role of the courts, law and lawyers

    Current research

     Helle Porsdam is currently working on the right to science - one of the cultural rights mentioned in both the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. She is the co-editor (with Sebastian Porsdam Mann) of The Right to Science: Then and Now, published by Cambridge University Press in 2021. As a part of her Carlsberg Foundation 'Semper Ardens' Monograph grant, she has written a monograph, Science As a Cultural Right (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022).


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