War and conflict in commemorative culture and political governance

Cross-disciplinary research group focusing on how war, conflict and acts of terrorism affect societies by the way they are remembered, and how the memories of such experiences may be used by various agents in processes of collective commemoration, political governance and educational practices.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The research group is a part of the research division Teacher Education.
The primary focus of the research group is the collective memory of the Second World War, and the part this plays in the building of identities and society. However, other conflicts and traumatic events/epochs are also drawn in by way of comparison, notably recent experiences with acts of political terrorism. The members of the group stem from the scholarly disciplines of history/cultural history, political science and pedagogy.

Link to Educational Activites 

During recent years teaching in democracy and citizenship, human dignity, identity and history is given a more prominent position in education. In school and education dealings with these issues often are trans-disciplinary, and so should research in teacher education examine trans-disciplinary potentials. One aim of this research group therefore is to raise awareness and widen the scope of didactic practice.

​Active Research Projects

The Nazi Occupation of Norway in Contemporary Norwegian Fiction

Leiv Sem

How is the Nazi occupation of Norway portrayed in contemporary Norwegian fiction? What may this literature tell us of how one has experienced these events, and subsequently made use of them? Through a selecton of novel with the occupation as theme or frame the project discuss how one has perceived oneself, the enemy, the resistance and the fight.​

The Medieval Knight as Literary Motif in Contemporary Norwegian Fiction

​Leiv Sem

The Medieval Knight as Literary Motif in Contemporary Norwegian Fiction. The deployment of a Conventional Motif in New Contexts. 

The Legacy of the Norwegian 1942 Teachers’ Revolt Against the Nazi Regime

Leiv Sem & Ole Petter Vestheim: The Legacy of the Norwegian 1942 Teachers’ Revolt Against the Nazi Regime 

In 1942 the puppet National Socialist 
Government of Norway established by law a new NS “Union of Teachers”, in which membership was compulsory for all Norwegian teachers. The decree was met with widespread refusal to join. The teachers then came to symbolize a set of specific virtues: civil courage, democracy and free thinking. How is this history drawn upon and presented in the internal discourse of the community of teachers? In which contexts are these events mentioned, and by whom are these memories evoked? How are the evocative powers of this imagery mobilized, and to what ends? 

​​Norwegian memoire literature from the First World War

Trond Risto Nilssen & Leiv Sem

What is known as The Great War in other national memories play a small part indeed in the Norwegian context. How was this war understood and remembered by Norwegians before the Second World War? How do Norwegian memoirs relate to the vast international memoire literature? 

​Brudd og kontinuitet i en leirverden

Trond Risto Nilssen & Jon Reitan

«Falstad. Fangeleirer i diktatur og demokrati 1941–1949». Oslo: Scandinavian Academic Press 2021. 

A book that portrays the Falstad camp in Norway during the war years and the years afterwards. ​​ ​

Norway’s Foreign Relations in the Twenty-first Century – Small State Realism 

Geir K. Almlid 

​Norway’s Foreign Relations in the Twenty-first Century – Small State Realism. 
Palgrave Macmillan, 2023. 

Completed projects

Britain and Norway in Europe since 1945: Outsiders

Geir Almlid

Britain and Norway in Europe since 1945: Outsiders. 
Palgrave Macmillan 2021. 

This book provides an in-depth account of British-Norwegian relations in European integration from 1945 until today. It not only examines significant events and developments but also explores long-term perspectives such as the notion of being an outsider in Europe and the changing bilateral relationship. ​

​Democracy in modern Norwegian history

Geir Almlid & Jon Reitan

Demokratiet i moderne norsk historie
Fagbokforlaget 2021. 
The book Demokratiet i moderne norsk historie, published in Norwegian in 2021, examines democratic aspects related to key developments and events in Norwegian history from 1905 until today. The objective is to provide an overview of the development of the Norwegian democracy as a system, to increase knowledge and understanding of democratic challenges of the past, present and future Norway, and to strengthen awareness of the importance of teaching democracy in schools.​

The Legacies of the Nazi Camps in Norway

Trond Risto Nilssen & Jon Reitan

The Legacies of the Nazi Camps in Norway. 
Berlin – Münster – London – Wien: LIT Verlag 2021.

A survey and analysis of the Nazi camp system that was established in Norway 

​​​Review in 
NY Reviews of Books​​.​

 Research Group Leader