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The Claimed Pasts research group addresses larger societal and historical backdrops against which materials become desired historical objects. How are objects and artefacts made relevant as “knowledge carriers” about the past? What purposes do the forming, forging, retaining, choosing, trading, storing, categorizing, interpreting, and displaying of these knowledge carriers serve, and who is involved in the process?

How are cultural objects appropriated and circulated transnationally and how do they find entry into collections and institutions? How and when, and within which power asymmetries do scholars, curators, and archivists make knowledge?

We seek to investigate institutions such as universities, museums, and archives as places of knowledge production. The premises for decolonization of knowledge in institutions, their collections, holdings and archives, thus becomes a relevant aspect in the research of Claimed Pasts.


  • History of Knowledge and Science
  • Critical Provenance Studies
  • Migration
  • Use of History, Representation of the Past
  • Looting, Iconoclasm, Destruction, Trafficking, and Illicit Trade in Cultural Objects
  • Object Biographies
  • Cultural Policies, Heritage Management, Collection Management, and Repatriation
  • History of Institutional Knowledge: Museums, Archives, Universities, Collections

Relevant PhD programme

  • PhD course HP-602-1: Critical Knowledge and Heritage Production in History to be held in the fall semester (organized by Christa Wirth and Josephine Munch Rasmussen): September 23 and 24, 2020, and October 9, 2020


Wirth, Christa. The History of Knowledge and the Cold War: An Essay. In: Baernreuther, Sandra Boehmer, Maria, Witt, Sohpie (eds.). Nach Feierabend 15, 2020: 159-166.

Korsvoll, Nils Hallvard. The (Continued) Online Trade of Aramaic Magic Bowls from Iraq. Journal of Art Crime 2020 23 (spring): 17-31.

Rasmussen, Josephine Munch. Regulating the Import and Export of Cultural Objects in Norway. Background and Challenges. I: Working With Cultural Objects and Manuscripts: Provenance, Legality, and Responsible Stewardship. Helsinki: Suomen Museoliitan 2020.

Prescott, Christopher; Rasmussen, Josephine Munch. Exploring the “Cozy Cabal of Academics, Dealers and Collectors” through the Schøyen Collection. Heritage — Open Access Journal of Knowledge, Conservation and Management of Cultural and Natural Heritage 2020 Volume 3.(1) p. 68-91.

Justnes, Årstein; Rasmussen, Josephine Munch. Hazon Gabriel: A Display of Negligence. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (BASOR) 2020; Volume 384.

Justnes, Årstein; Rasmussen, Josephine Munch; Lied, Liv Ingeborg; Grønli, Kristin S. Bibelsk svindel gav smertefull sjølvransaking. Forskninsetikk [Business/trade/industry journal] 2020.

Justnes, Årstein. Nabonidus, Prayer of (4Q242/4QPrNab). I: T&T Clark Encyclopedia of Second Temple Judaism Volumes I and II. Bloomsbury T&T Clark 2020.

Kjeldsberg, Ludvik A. Christian Dead Sea Scrolls? The post-2002 Fragments as Modern Protestant Relics. I: The Museum of the Bible: A Critical Introduction. Lexington Books 2019

Wirth, Christa. Jocano’s Digging for a Pre-Colonial Past at Santa Ana in Manila: Nation-Building at the Nexus of the Cold War and Decolonization. Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia 2019; Volume 55. p. 150-155.

In the media

Korsvoll, Nils Hallvard. Bibelforsking anno 2020: Forfalskingar og svindel. Blogg: Akademiet for yngre forskere, forskning.no 2020.

Rasmussen, Josephine Munch; Prescott, Christopher. Schøyens bortforklaringer om Taliban Når noe virker for godt til å være sant, er det som oftest det. Morgenbladet 2020.

Rasmussen, Josephine Munch; Prescott, Christopher. Schøyen har en systematisk historie med å kjøpe tvilsomme varer. Morgenbladet 2020. 

David, Ariel; Justnes, Årstein. After Dead Sea Forgeries Exposed, How Do We Know the Scrolls in Israel Are Authentic? Haaretz 2020.

Grønli, Kristin Straumsheim; Justnes, Årstein. Bibelsk svindel gav smertefull sjølransaking. Forskningsetikk [Business/trade/industry journal] 2020.

Justnes, Årstein; Greshko, Michael.Exclusive: 'Dead Sea Scrolls' at the Museum of the Bible are all forgeries. National Geographic [Internet] 2020.

Justnes, Årstein; Guttormsen, Arne.Oxford-professor arrestert for bibeltyveri. Vårt Land 2020.

Justnes, Årstein; Kleivan, Nikolai Melamed. Er dette forfalskeren?. Morgenbladet 2020.

Kleivan, Nikolai Melamed; Justnes, Årstein. Løgner avslørt på bibelmuseum. Morgenbladet 2020.

Larsen, Arne Martin; Justnes, Årstein. Forskning med store medieoppslag. uia.no 2020.

Upcoming events

10. February 2021, 11.30-12.30. Brown Bag Lunch seminar.

Guest: Deise Faria Nunes: PhD Research Fellow at the Department of Visual Arts and Drama at UiA: "Estuaries: Afro-Diaspora Art Encounters in the Nordics"

27. January 2021, 11.30-12.30, Brown Bag Lunch Theory Reading Seminar:

Text: Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. Can the Subaltern Speak? in Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (eds). Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. London 1988. 

 13. January 2021, 11.30 - 12.30. Brown Bag Lunch seminar.

Guests: Cécile Stehrenberger, Junior-Professorin, Bergische Universität Wuppertal and Urs Lindner, Universität Erfurt, Junior Fellow: Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien: "Decolonizing Knowledge Carriers in the City of Erfurt. From Museums to (Street)names"

2. December 2020, 11.30 - 12:30. Brown Bag Lunch seminar. Email nils.hallvard.korsvoll@uia.no to sign up

Guest: Raha Rafii, Postdoctoral fellow, University of Exeter: ”Reading Museums from the Outside: Near Eastern Collections between Academic Studies and Middle Eastern Communities"

18. November 2020, 11.30 - 12:30. Brown Bag Lunch seminar. Email nils.hallvard.korsvoll@uia.no to sign up

Guest: Astrid Rasch, Associate professor, NTNU: “Teaching memory politics after empire"

4. November 2020, 11.30 - 12:30. Brown Bag Lunch seminar. Email nils.hallvard.korsvoll@uia.no to sign up

Guest:  Dana Ryan Lande, Postdoctoral Fellow, Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society: “Media History, Narrative Unreliability, and the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Ethics of Provenance (Under-)Reporting”

9. October 2020, 11.30 - 12:30. Brown Bag Lunch seminar. 

Guest: Johan Östling, professor Lund University: "Circulation, Arenas and the Quest for Public Knowledge: Historiographical Currents and Analytical Frameworks."

9. September 2020, 11.30 - 12:30. Brown Bag Lunch seminar

Guest: Amanda Crompton, associate professor, University of Tromsø/Max Planck: "The Accidental Collectors: Colonial Travellers and Inuit Collections from Labrador, Canada."

26. August 2020, 11.30 - 12:30. Brown Bag Lunch seminar

Introduction: Rizka Pramadita, Phd research fellow, university of Agder: "Rethinking Ethics in Qualitative Research: Towards Critical Radical Ethics."

5. - 7. August 2020, Shut Up and Write, Fevik.

Research group writing retreat.