University of Oslo 1811–2011

The University of Oslo was founded just a few years before Norway’s independence in 1814 and was for more than a century the only university in Norway. A university history project, initiated in the early 1990s, has resulted in a 9 volume history published on the occasion of the 200th anniversary in 2011. The new university history stands out as a series of highly interesting and well written books which documents the vital importance of the university for the state, for nation building and for society, as well as the major transformations it has undergone with the coming of the research university and mass education. The ambitions of overall coherence, internal coordination, and a common conceptual and analytical framework throughout the work, have been downplayed. The review examines some methodological and theoretical questions concerning concepts, chronology, and periodization, and discusses challenges that are connected to the ambition of integrating the history of the institution with the history of disciplines and departments.

Keywords: University history, history of science and humanities