Five minutes with Kjell O. Lejon ...
... professor of religious studies, who has just been to a world congress of historians in China. What’s being discussed most now among the world’s historians?
“There are two clear, interesting trends being emphasized these days. The first deals with globalised history. The history of most of the continents has been written by Europeans. Now it is being increasingly emphasized that there is, of course, a history before they came and discovered new lands. This is why Eurocentrism is being abandoned, and more emphasis is instead being put on the countries’ own histories. We are living in an increasingly internationalised world, so perhaps it’s no accident that this is trending now. More and more people are discovering the bias in written history.”
“The other clear trend concerns transnational history. A great deal of historical writing has been nationalist; many countries have gladly glorified their own histories. Now there are more comparisons, and taken together this leads to a more international view of history; this provides perspective on one’s own country. People listen more. One sign of this, for example, is that the congress was held in China this year – it’s the first time it was arranged in an Asian country; previously it was countries oriented towards the West that held on to the arrangements.”
You are a church historian. What did you speak about?
“I went back to the 1600s when Skåne County, which at that time belonged to Denmark, was taken over by the Swedes. What did they do to get the reluctant Danes to feel affiliation to Sweden, and to feel that they were Swedes? The church had a strong role at that time; it was the means for making the Danish folk friendly to Sweden, and the priests worked strategically on these issues. In addition, Lund University was founded during that time as a way to Swedify the Danes through education and pedagogy.”
Do you see any connection between what you spoke about and the world situation today?
“It could perhaps be compared, for example, with what’s happening in Ukraine today. Two different ethnic groups within one country end up on different sides, one retaining a Russian identity. The authorities failed at incorporation; how can a common identity and a willingness to unify around something new be created among the inhabitants so that it doesn’t lead to conflict for centuries to come? We could learn from history. But of course it’s obvious that, as a historian, I would say that.”
Jan Sundin, professor emeritus at what is now the Department of Medical and Health Sciences, and Bengt Sandin, professor in Child Studies in the Department of Thematic Studies, also attended. What were their topics?
“Professor Sundin lectured on genetics, environment and gender based on a couple of historical examples, and Professor Sandin led a symposium on the view of how different countries value children culturally and socially.”
How many took part in the congress?
“1,900 historians from 90 countries; all the continents were represented. And this was the 22nd world congress.”
What did you bring back to your own research and teaching?
“I’ve gotten more international contacts, I’m disseminating historical trends and taking examples from what I heard.”
LiU researchers have joined international calls for a boycott of scientific conferences in the US.
Psychology students took on role of treaters in a study of perfectionism and internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy.
Social value creation is on the agendas of more and more companies and organisations. Erik Jannesson, senior lecturer in management control, has just published a book on the subject.
Rolf Holmqvist is one of 17 researchers who are critical to guidelines for the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Malin Thor Tureby was keynote speaker at an international conference on oral history.
Cats that meow with a dialect have caused a sensation in the world media. Robert Eklund, a linguist who works with cats at the Department of Culture and Communication, has lost count of the number of times the work has been reported in the media.
On 6 December, a Farewell Mingle was held for departing exchange students who have studied at Linköping University.
"We have a global and critical perspective that attracts today's students," says Stefan Jonsson, professor at REMESO, about the Faculty of Arts and Science’s first international master’s programme at REMESO in Norrköping - Ethnic and Migration Studies.
Achieving perfect health has become a religion in the western world, according to a newly published study. Barbro Wijma, professor emerita and physician with many years of experience meeting patients, views this development with dismay.
Skin colour matters, also in Sweden. But many people don’t accept that racism is a problem here – only in other countries. So claims doctoral student Victoria Kawesa, who writes about black feminism and whiteness in Sweden.
Johanna Sköld from Child Studies at Linköping University co-organised an international workshop where researchers compared various models of compensation for institutional neglect and abuse.
Anna Lindström and Monika Lopez of the Department of Culture and Communication applied earlier this year for funding for an initiative in an issue relating to refugees. The funding was granted, and the “Tomorrow’s Nobel laureates” project was born.
Suad Ali, expert on Sweden’s refugee quota, works tirelessly for refugees worldwide. For her dedication she has been chosen as one of Linköping University’s two Alumni of the Year.
Thomas Lunner’s research has given improved hearing to millions of people with impaired hearing. He has been chosen as one of this year’s Alumni of the Year.
Last updated: 2017-02-13