Professional skills: Remembering contested and repressed pasts (1 ECTS)

Remembering Contested and Repressed Pasts

The workshop is part of the Professional skills workshops offered by the Norwegian Research School in History. This workshop, organized by the University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway, will address the role of historians in debating and taking part in contested memorialization processes. The course will be held over two days (two half days). 

Image may contain: Sky, Roof, Architecture, Mountain, House.

Campus UiT Tromsø, by Anne Birgitte Fyhn

The workshop will examine the 2013 and 2014 reports by the UN special rapporteur for cultural rights and address the current work of the Norwegian “truth and reconciliation commission”, investigating the effects of the assimilationist “Norwegianization” policies, as well as experiences from the work of similar commissions in other countries.

The workshop will be organized in conjunction with the advanced research course on “Multi-Voice History: Perspectives from Indigenous and Minority History”, as an add-on day, but it may also be taken as a single course. This is called “workshop” rather than “course” in order to emphasize the interactive teaching style that we will apply, with emphasis on hands-on experiences to improve existing skills and knowledge.

Learning objectives:

  • The student knows the work of official “truth”-commissions, their background, the challenges they face and the role historians might play in their work
  • The student is able to reflect on issues related to contested pasts, memory processes and cultural heritage and how cultural rights may be accommodated.
  • The student should be prepared to take part in and evaluate exhibitions, memorializations, and visual representations of the past.

ECTS: 1 ECTS (25-30 hours, incuding preparations and participation).


Due to current restrictions on travels and gatherings, the course will held online with a combination of plenary lectures/panels and group work.

Confirmed contributors and topics:

15 October

Plenary lecture: Professor Hanne Hagtvedt Wiik, University of Oslo

Vik will present the 2013 and 2014 reports by the UN special rapporteur for cultural rights and her recommendation that one’s right to his/her cultural heritage is best secured by taking a multi-voice/multi-perspective approach to the past.

Group work, based on the UN reports and student papers (800 words). The papers should be 1) reflections on exhibitions or memorials in your local community, presenting history from the viewpoint of groups often marginalized from national history and other hegemonic narratives, and/or 2) the role of historians in confronting “contested pasts”.

16 October

Plenary panel:

Professor Emeritus Einar Niemi, UiT

Associate Professor Ketil Zachariassen, UiT

University Lecturer Anna-Lill Drugge, Umeå University

Associate Professor Jonathan Crossen (Tromsø/Saskatchewan)

Both Niemi and Zachariassen were members of the Norwegian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and will talk about their role as historians in the work of the commission. Anna-Lill Drugge and Jonathan Crossen will offer their perspectives on similar processes in Sweden and Canada.

Group work, based on the plenary discussion, the commission’s mandate (, and supplementary reading.

Learning platform

The learning platform used for this workshop is Microsoft Teams, while the plenary and Group sessions will take place in Zoom. 

Both the manuscript and reading responses must be uploaded in MS Teams. 

Essential information

Registration: 7 September at the latest. We accept applications on a first-come-first-served basis for students of the partner institutions and other members of NRSH. For non-members, we will offer available spaces for PhD students in history and other historical disciplines after the registration date. To apply, please fill out this registration form.

We will assess the applications shortly after the deadline and inform you of the assessment no later than five days after the deadline.

Deadline for manuscripts: 1 October at the latest.

The course is organized in conjunction with the Advanced Research Methods course on Multi-Voice History, so that students may take one or both courses.

The course will be conducted in English or Scandinavian, depending on the language skills of the participating PhD students. The students are expected to attend and contribute actively in all parts of the course.

Students may attend the workshop for credit or audit it. To achieve the credit, participants will submit an 800 words paper, see above. If not approved immediately, the paper might be resubmitted for a new evaluation in three weeks’ time.

Appr. 70–100 pages required readings.

Contact information: 

Course convener: professor Narve Fulsås, University of Tromsø

Administrative support: Isak Måseiede, University of Tromsø


Partner institustions: 

University of Agder, Department of Religion, Philosophy and History

University of Bergen, Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion

BI - Norwegian Business Schoow, Department of Law and Governance

Nord University, Faculty of Social Science

NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Humanities

University of Oslo, Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History

UiT - The Artic University of Norway, Department of Archaeology, History, Religious Studies and Theology

Volda University College - Social Sciences and History







    Published Jan. 27, 2020 9:04 PM - Last modified Sep. 9, 2020 5:32 PM