Nordic History Studies (NHS)

Background and existing activities

Nordic History Studies (NHS) was established as an international affiliated organization within CISH (International Committee of Historical Sciences) in 2015 at the CISH world conference in Jinan, China. NHS is dedicated to the study of the history of the Nordic region in a comparative historical, cultural and societal dimension. The initiative is taken and the proposal formulated within the Nordic Historians' committee. The committee is a joint Nordic committee with representation from national history associations of all five Nordic countries Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

Members of the Nordic Historians' Committee:

Professor Peter Stadius Finland/CENS, chair
Dr Ruth Hemstad, Norway
Dr Jonas Nordin, Sweden
Dr Hrefna Robertsdottir, Iceland
Professor Tiina Kinnunen, Finland
Klaus Petersen, Denmark / Editor in chief of Scandinavian Journal of History

The Centre for Nordic Studies (CENS) at the University of Helsinki is the administrative host of the committee.

The primal task of the committee so far has been to ensure the continuation of the Nordic Historians' Meeting, a conference arranged every 3-4 years and rotating between all five Nordic countries, with each organizing university as the main responsible for the practical arrangements. The conference has a long history, and the first meeting was arranged in 1905 in Lund (Sweden) establishing a hitherto long lasting academic tradition of more than a century. The last meeting was arranged by University of Aalborg (Denmark) in August 2018, and was the 29th meeting in total. The 30th Nordic Historians' Meeting will be arranged in Gothenburg in August 2017.

The conferences have had a steady attendance of 300-400 scholars during the last decades, mostly consisting in historians from the Nordic countries. Lately also the participation of non-Nordic resident scholars have increased. This latter also show the interest and importance for looking outside the Nordic borders for scholars of Nordic history. This phenomenon also strengthens the possibilities for comparative approaches on a regional and global scale. This recent development is one main argument for establishing an international committee in Nordic History Studies, open to institutions and researchers in the whole world. The dynamics of both the CISH congress every fifth year, and the Nordic Historians' Meeting every 3-4 years, constitute a backbone for NHS activities.

Scandinavian Journal of History and other peer-reviewed journals

The Nordic Historians Committee is also the forum for administrating Scandinavian Journal of History, an English language international peer-review journal published by Routledge. As with the Nordic Historians Meeting also the editorial responsibility is rotated between the five Nordic countries. The journal was started in 1976 and has appeared regularly with four annual numbers since then. The editorial policy gives particular priority to Scandinavian/Nordic topics and to efforts of placing Scandinavian developments into a larger context. Studies explicitly comparing Scandinavian processes and phenomena to those in other parts of the world are therefore regarded as particularly important. In addition to publishing articles and review essays, the journal includes short book reviews.

Scandinavian Journal of History in Taylor & Francis Online.

Also in each country the member associations of the Nordic Historian’s committee publish peer-reviewed History science journals in national languages, such as:

Nordic History Studies as an International Organisation in CISH

The main current aim for NHS is to promote that Nordic countries are studied in their international context acknowledging the challenges of the globalized world.  The question of regionalization is of particular importance. To what extent is it fruitful to analyze the Nordic countries as a particular region, historically or in contemporary world, a region with common historical experiences and/or a region with a common agenda in the world? To what extent are the national identities in the different Nordic countries constructed reflexively as particular expressions of countries of a particular Nordic type? Especially topical is to ask what the Nordic countries have to put on the table in international discussion as examples of best/good practices or cautionary example of bad practices.

The perspective of Nordic in the world and the world in the Nordic Region necessitates that Nordic historians enter into a dialogue with agencies and research partners outside the Nordic countries. Integrating an outside perspective will help NHS to become an important international arena, attracting young as well as experienced researchers to work within CISH.

Organization and membership

The NHS board is the same as the Nordic Historians' Committee, and serves as a complementing forum for Nordic History research beyond each national organization. The board will meet 2-3 times during the five year cycle of the CISH congresses. Besides the Nordic Historians' Meeting, 1-4 separate seminars with changing content will be arranged between every CISH World Congress.

The International organization of Nordic History Studies is administered by the Centre for Nordic Studies (CENS) at the University of Helsinki. CENS is responsible of the documentation, administration and the maintenance of the organization’s homepage. Research Director at CENS, professor Peter Stadius, act as secretary for the NHS.

For more information about NHS, please contact: peter.stadius@helsinki.fi

Administration of NHS

President: Professor Pauli Kettunen, University of Helsinki
Secretary: Professor Peter Stadius, University of Helsinki
Treasurer: Coordinator Heidi Haggrén, University of Helsinki

The board is as of 1.1.2017 equivalent to the Nordic Historians' Committee (see above). After approval by CISH General Assembly the Nordic Historians' Committee has met:

16.8.2017 in Aalborg (Denmark)
28.5.2019 in Gothenburg (Sweden)

The membership of NHS is open for researchers and institutions around the world devoted to the study of the Nordic region and its history. 

Past events

Vetenskaplig publicering i Norden – hur ser framtiden ut? [Scientific Publication ‒ Outlooks for the Future?] in Helsinki 11.3.2016

A one day seminar arranged by NHS in cooperation with the Swedish language Historical Association in Helsinki, on the changing conditions of publishing and the future challenges of the scientific historical journals and publications in vernacular languages was arranged in Helsinki 11.3.2016.

The 29th Nordic Historian’s Meeting in Aalborg, 15-18.8.2017.

The Second Nor­dic Chal­lenges Conference: Nar­rat­ives of uni­form­ity and di­versity, Helsinki, 7.-9.3. 2018​​​.

List of Nordic Historian's meetings

  1. 1905 Lund (SE)
  2. 1920 Oslo (NO)
  3. 1923 Gothenburg (SE)
  4. 1926 Copenhagen & Sorø (DK)
  5. 1931 Helsinki (FI)
  6. 1935 Uppsala & Stockholm (SE)
  7. 1939 Copenhagen (DK)
  8. 1948 Lillehammer (NO)
  9. 1951 Gothenburg (SE)
  10. 1954 Turku-Åbo (FI)
  11. 1957 Aarhus (DK)
  12. 1961 Lund (SE)
  13. 1964 Bergen (NO)
  14. 1967 Helsinki (FI)
  15. 1971 Copenhagen (DK)
  16. 1974 Uppsala (SE)
  17. 1977 Trondheim (NO)
  18. 1981 Jyväskylä (FI)
  19. 1984 Odense (DK)
  20. 1987 Reykjavik (IS)
  21. 1991 Umeå (SE)
  22. 1994 Oslo (NO)
  23. 1997 Tampere (FI)
  24. 2001 Aarhus (DK)
  25. 2004 Stockholm (SE)
  26. 2007 Reykjavik (IS)
  27. 2010 Tromsø (NO)
  28. 2014 Joensuu (FI)
  29. 2017 Aalborg (DK)