Four shared research profiles link the research area for doctoral studies, Historical Studies, providing a common scholarly foundation. These are research in the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe, gender perspectives, contemporary history and research into cultural heritage and cultural processes.
Studies of the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe
Studies of the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe comprise the majority of the research performed at Södertörn University, not least within Historical Studies, where it is a vital element of the area. Extensive research in this field is conducted within all five subjects. This includes research projects funded by the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, as well as the research conducted by a majority of the doctoral students now at Södertörn University.
The Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES) was founded in 2005, and tasked with coordinating research about the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe at Södertörn University. It is a distinctively multidisciplinary environment, which attracts many outstanding international visiting researchers. The tenured researchers at the centre include several with links to the subjects included in Historical Studies. They, like the visiting researchers at the centre, have northeast Europa as a specialism.
CBEES and the researchers employed there are great assets, particularly for our current doctoral students, and some employees at CBEES contribute their expertise as supervisors for doctoral students in the subjects that are part of Historical Studies. The focus on a greater depth in time, which is characteristic of Historical Studies, can thus gain more of a profile in research about the Baltic Sea region. This research is under continual development, and one example that is highly relevant to Historical Studies is the research institute for marine archaeology, MARIS, that was established at Södertörn University in 2010. The research institute is a hub and a platform for national and international research in marine archaeology in the Baltic Sea. One of MARIS’ primary objectives is to initiate networking between researchers in this field, as well as new research.
The contemporary history profile, which focuses on political ideas and political history, is largely concentrated to the Institute of Contemporary History (SHI), but is also found within the History of Ideas, History, Ethnology and, to some extent, Archaeology. Since it was founded in 1999, SHI has annually employed an average of twenty researchers and doctoral students. Activities at the institute have been dominated by two tasks: to initiate and develop research into issues of contemporary history, and to highlight problems linked to the documentation of the recent past. There is also a strong link to perspectives within the history of ideas. The institute’s infrastructure is funded by the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, while research is financed via external funding. Since it began, projects and planning grants have been awarded to around forty projects from a large number of research financiers.
Gender Studies is another of Södertörn University’s profile areas and has a natural place in the area of Historical Studies. All subjects have empirical research with a gender perspective. Numerous professors and other senior researchers conduct or have conducted research expressly with a gender perspective; this is also a strong profile among postdocs and other younger researchers. A number of current doctoral students also have a gender studies profile in the theses.
Historical Studies and the subject of Gender Studies (which is located at the School of Culture and Education), now have a well-established cooperation. The competence found there, particularly in the area of gender theory, provides excellent support for the area’s doctoral students.
Cultural Heritage and Cultural Processes
Cultural heritage and cultural processes is the profile around which the five subjects included in Historical Studies have built up a cooperation around a Bachelor’s programme, and can thus be described as area-specific. Many of the supervisors and researchers in the area’s subjects for doctoral education have research projects linked to this profile, as do a number of doctoral students.
Cultural change and continuity over varying timescales is at the heart of multiple research projects in the subjects included in Historical Studies. These relate to everything from fashion, via perspectives on work, to ideas about normality and deviation during different periods and events, linked to economic and political changes. Empirically, the projects move over large areas of the Baltic Sea region, including Sweden, and also include transnational and translocal studies. Ethnic relations, cultural diversity, integration issues and cultural hierarchies belong to the particular specialisation that characterises Ethnology and parts of History at the university. This is visible in research and education, and recurs in numerous ongoing and completed doctoral theses.