Every historian seeks to explain the past, understand the present and obtain insight into the future. Previously, historical research was dominated by kings and wars. Nowadays, historians are mostly interested in the history of the common people. The history of the working classes, farmers, low-ranking employees, women and children now takes a more prominent place. It is also becoming more common for historians to collaborate with other subjects.
Interdisciplinary research projects increase the possibility of highlighting more comprehensive, important historical problems and questions. Modern historians are now turning towards new research fields where the traditional, well-tried methods no longer suffice. Many new areas cannot be studied in the written materials of our archives. Instead, historians must draw upon methods that have developed within oral history, picture analysis or modern communication theory.
From the start of the 1970s, research in history at Umeå University has been characterised by an interest in the common people, sometimes known as "history from the bottom up". Cultural, political and ideological processes have been observed, as well as the social and economic course of events within and between different groups. Modern research in legal history has an early foothold at Umeå, as well as an interest in the history of Norrland – both subjects remain just as relevant today. Since the 1980s there has also been a growth in historical demography, the history of the Sami and history focusing on the educational sciences. These have become established as strong fields of knowledge.
More information about current research within history at Umeå University can be found on the page Publications and on our researchers' individual pages under Contact below.
Our historians have active internal and external collaborations. We work together with the many associations in the voluntary sector, where our researchers give lectures, amongst other things. It may be about developing democracy in the association or providing knowledge about modern and historical natural values. Media is also another large collaboration area and our researchers contribute to increasing knowledge in different ways, commonly by providing historical perspectives on current phenomena in debates, news programmes and more. It is important that our researchers participate in open and critically scrutinising discussions in matters that address the foundations of democratic society, such as human equality.