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18. Oct - 19. Oct 2022
kl 09:00 - 18:00

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Campus Kristiansand

Registration deadline

16. Sep kl 11:00

PhD Course HI-602 Critical Knowledge and Heritage Production in History

Campus Kristiansand, UiA, foto

Campus Kristiansand, UiA. Foto: Olav Breen.


18 Oct - 19 Oct
kl 09:00 - 18:00

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Campus Kristiansand

Registration deadline

16 Sep

Course Description

How to write history today? In this course we examine the choices we make when doing research and what knowledge we thereby produce. We analyze how history is written, and which history is relevant in academia against the backdrop of current societal changes such global warming, the metoo movement, Black Lives Matter, decolonization, automatizations/digitalization, migration, globalization, and the return of fervent nationalism.

At the center of the course are current developments in the humanities and social science and how they are impacting the use of theory. We discuss the historical contingencies which made some knowledge fields prevail against other fields, as well as questions of the circulation of knowledge across societies. In addition, the aspect of the materiality, production, transfer, and in general context and provenience of texts and objects will be relevant in this class.

Of particular importance is to think about our primary sources: What are the contexts in which sources become historically relevant? What can we study and what is unavailable? What are the power relations and value hierarchies: What is preserved? Who decides this? In terms of methodology and ethics we ask: What questions can we expect specific materials, collections, and archives to help us answer?  How can we interrogate the past in a methodologically sound and appropriate way?

This course is particularly geared towards PhD students in history with a research interest in collecting and knowledge producing institutions.  The course is however open and relevant for any PhD student in the humanities and social sciences who wants to think critically about their use of terminology, literature canon, the archives, interviews, and field work.

Patricia Purtschert (Photo: transcript Verlag)

Patricia Purtschert (Photo: transcript Verlag)

The basis to contribute to this discussion is the PhD candidates own research.

Guest lector:

Patricia Purtschert

Professor of Gender Studies, University of Berne, Switzerland

Course dates

18th of October, 19th of October, and 1st of November


Course facts


PhD Program in Humanities and Education


Students must be admitted to a relevant PhD-programme

Learning outcomes

  • become familiar with historical contingencies within the fields of history and heritage
  • achieve an understanding of history as an interdisciplinary field of academic study
  • be trained in recognizing asymmetries within current and historical knowledge production
  • be able to analyze empirical cases within wider historical contexts

The training promises to hone critical thinking skills and awareness of epistemology which ties into questions of methodology:

  • What knowledge do I produce when I follow my research plans?
  • What kind of images and representations do I produce?
  • What kind of power asymmetries am I encountering?
  • What theoretical models do I apply and why?
  • What archives and collections am I working out of?
  • What sources were produced and in which instances were sources not produced and archived? (Keyword: silence in the archives)
  • Where does a historical object come from?

Teaching methods

The course is organized as two-day and a one-day workshop, and the teachers are Christa Wirth and Josephine Munch Rasmussen. Teaching methods include lectures, seminar discussions, presentations, and discussion of papers. The course is conducted in English.

Examination requirements

Participation, acceptance of paper (between 4000 – 6000 words excl. references), and of oral presentation.

The paper should contain reflection on methodology, theory, and knowledge making pertaining to participants’ PhD-project. Format: thesis chapter or academic article in English or a Scandinavian language.

Paper: will be submitted at the end of the semester: pass/fail, either an article or a thesis chapter

Oral presentation: participants present and have feedback on their paper.

Assessment methods and criteria

Participation, acceptance of paper, and of oral presentation.

Offered as a free-standing course


Responsible faculty

Faculty of Humanities and Education

Contact Person

Christa Wirth

Level of course


Credit Points


Course Dates:

18th – 19th October 2022 and 1st November 2022