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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
  • Common health and well-being of people and societies in global perspective

Relevant PhD programme

  • PhD course HI-602-1: Critical Knowledge and Heritage Production in History to be held in the fall semester (organized by Christa Wirth, UiA and Josephine Munch Rasmussen, NIKU): October 18-19, and November 1, 2022. https://www.uia.no/arrangementer/phd-course-hi-602-critical-knowledge-and-heritage-production-in-history 
  • Advanced research course (PhD course) on 600 level): History in Society – The Case of Migration. Organized by Christa Wirth. Norwegian Research School of History. September 28 until September 30th, 2021. digital. 
  • PhD course HI-602-1: Critical Knowledge and Heritage Production in History to be held in the fall semester (organized by Christa Wirth and Josephine Munch Rasmussen): October 12, 13, 14, 2021.
  • PhD course HI-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. Violent Heat: Apocalypse Now between (De-)Colonization and the Cold War, UNITAS: Journal of Advanced Research in Literature, Culture, and Society, Volume 95/2, 2022, pp. 82-113, open access: https://tinyurl.com/48kxr4s8

Kalter, Christoph. Traumatic Loss, Successful Integration. The Agitated and the Soothing Memory of the Return from Portugal's African Empire in Peralta, Elsa (ed.), The Retornados from the Portuguese Colonies in Africa. Memory, Narrative, and History, New York (Routledge) 2022, 35-60.

Kalter, Christoph. Lisboa africana. Historiefragmenter fra en afro-portugisisk storby, in Fortid. Studentenes historietidsskrift UiO 18 (2021), 4, pp. 63-69.

Wirth, Christa. The Anthropologist as Deviant Modernizer: Felipe Landa Jocanoʼs Journey through the Cold War, the Social Sciences, Decolonization, and Nation Building in the Philippines. In: Solovey, Mark, Dayé, Christian (Eds.). Cold War Social Science: Transnational Entanglements. Palgrave Macmillan, 2021, pp. 161-189.

Rasmussen, Josephine Munch; Viestad, Vibeke Maria (2021). Curation by the Living Dead: Exploring the Legacy of Norwegian Museums’ Colonial Collections. Critical Arts. ISSN: 0256-0046. doi:10.1080/02560046.2021.1979064.

Justnes, Årstein; Rasmussen, Josephine Munch (2021). More Dubious Dead Sea Scrolls: Four Pre-2002 Fragments in the Schøyen Collection. Dead Sea Discoveries. ISSN: 0929-0761. 28 (1). s 20 - 37. doi:10.1163/15685179-bja10001.

Rasmussen, Josephine Munch; Justnes, Årstein (2021). Tales of Saviours and Iconoclasts: On The Provenance of “The Dead Sea Scrolls of Buddhism”. Acta ad archaeologiam et artium historiam pertinentia. ISSN: 0065-0900. 32 (18). s 125 - 146. doi:https://doi.org/10.5617/acta.9023

Justnes, Årstein and Rasmussen, Josephine M. More Dubious Dead Sea Scrolls: Four Pre-2002 Fragments in the Schøyen Collection. Dead Sea Discoveries 28(1), 2021, 20-37. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685179-bja10001.

Wirth, Christa. The History of Knowledge and the Cold War: An Essay. In: Baernreuther, Sandra Boehmer, Maria, Witt, Sophie (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.

Review of Mende, SilkeOrdnung durch Sprache. Francophonie zwischen Nationalstaat, Imperium und internationaler Politik, 1860-1960 (= Studien zur Internationalen Geschichte; Bd. 47, Berlin / Boston: De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2020, in sehepunkte 21 (2021), 10.

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

Rasmussen, J.M.  «Vil ha skilsmisse mellom forskere og samlere». September 10th, 2021.
https://www.morgenbladet.no/kultur/2021/09/10/vil-ha-skilsmisse-mellom-forskere-og-samlere/. Interview in Morgenbladet.

Rasmussen, Josephine Munch. Interview in Nyhetsmorgen, NRK P. «Afghanistans kulturminner». Segment 34. https://tv.nrk.no/serie/nyhetsmorgen-tv/202108/NNFA05082321/avspiller

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 and Past Events

May 11, 2022 Brown Bag Lunch seminar (lecture and discussion, zoom):

Guest: Sahra Rausch, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen

Title: “We’re equal to the Jews who were destroyed … Compensate us, too!” An affective (un)remembering of Germany’s colonial past?

April 20, 2022, Brown Bag Lunch seminar (lecture and discussion, zoom):

Guest: Martin Zebracki, University of Leeds

Title: Queer Geographies of urban public art

March 30, 2022, Brown Bag Lunch seminar (lecture and discussion, zoom): 

Guest: Alexandra Binnenkade, University of Basel.

Title: Monumental Transitions: Four monuments, four histories, and a new tool for understanding them

March 16, 2022, Brown Bag Lunch seminar (reading group): Excerpts from Adom Getachew: Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination. Princeton, NJ 2019

March 2, 2022, Brown Bag Lunch seminar (reading group): Excerpt from Rochona Majumdar: Writing Postcolonial History. London 2010.

February 9, 2022, Brown Bag Lunch Seminar(lecture and discussion, zoom):

Guest: Kathrin Pabst, Vest-Agder-museet: Identity on the Line (I-ON):

Title: Intergenerational Transfer of feelings and behaviours from migrants to their children and grandchildren

December 12th - 15th, Shut up and write seminar. Arendal

November 10, 2021, Brown Bag Lunch seminar (lecture and discussion)

Guest: Philippe Forêt, PhD.  Professor of Environmental Humanities,  Department of Environmental Sustainability and Climate Science, American University of Central Asia (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan), Department of Social Sciences, University of Basel (Switzerland)

Title: The Geographer as Deviant Modernizer: Hedin's Journeys and the Entanglements of Interwar Climate Science

October 27, 2021, Brown Bag Lunch seminar (reading group)

October 6, 2021, Brown Bag Lunch seminar (reading group)

September 22, 2021, Brown Bag Lunch seminar (reading group)


May 19,  2021, 11.30-12.30, Brown Bag Lunch seminar (lecture and discussion). Sign up with: Årstein.Justnes@uia.no

Guest: Michael Press, Ph.D. postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Religion, Philosophy, and History, UiA

Title: Tbd

May 5,  2021, 11.30-12.30, Brown Bag Lunch seminar (lecture and discussion). Sign up with: Christoph.Kalter@uia.no
Guest: Daniel Morat, PD Dr. Lecturer at Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut (FMI), at the Freie Universität, Berlin and Member of the curatorial team for the Berlin Exhibition of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin.

"More than Looted Art: The Humboldt Forum and Germany’s Colonial Legacy"


Jonathan Bach, “Colonial Pasts in Germany's Present,” In German Politics and Society 37 (2019), 4, pp. 58-73.


April 23, 2021, 11.30-12.30, Brown Bag Lunch: Meet the Author.

Author: Patrícia Martins Marcos, Ph.D. Candidate in UC San Diego’s Department of History and the Science Studies Program.

Reading: Patrícia Martins Marcos. Decolonizing Empire: Corporeal Chronologies and the Entanglements of Colonial and Postcolonial Time. Práticas da História, 11 (2020): 143-179.

February 24, 2021, 11.30-12.30, Brown Bag Lunch: Theory Reading

DuBois, Page. “Fragmentary Introduction .” Introduction. In Sappho Is Burning, 1–30. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1995. 

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.

Members in the group

Associate members

Philippe Forêt, University of Basel, Switzerland

Students in the group


Gunhild Tveiten

Trond Kjetil Høgsaas