Creating the New North (CNN)

English summary

Programme web site (in Norwegian).

Creating the New North. Manifestations of Central Power in the North AD 500-1800 is a multidisciplinary research programme designed to co-ordinate and conduct multi-disciplinary research into medieval North Norway and its place in a wider regional, national, and continental context.

The programme is a long-term initiative to focus different departments' work towards the common purpose of a new and better understanding of historical developments in settlement, society and identity in North Norway specifically and in northern Fennoscandia generally. The programme has evolved gradually and was until April 2010 dedicated to the period AD 1000-1600. From 2010 we have got a formal status as a Research Group of The Faculty for Humanities, Social Sciences and Education and from 2013 CNN is responsible for the project "The Protracted Reformation in Northern Norway".

During this process, we have decided to widen the chronological perspective for two reasons. Firstly, widening the chronological perspective will bring our research more in line with the general European research on the Middle Ages. Secondly, we will also be able to adapt better to characteristics of the past in Arctic regions. Therefore: AD 500-1800. The central aim is to develop a new understanding of how the most northerly areas of Europe transformed from a situation of open interaction between different groups to one which saw them become northern peripheries subject to emerging national states with administrative centres further south, and to observe this development in a regional, national and continental context.

The extension of a wider European culture into the northern areas informs our understanding of the processes of European expansion during the Middle Ages. The incorporation of northern Norway, for instance, was achieved without obvious manifestations of organized conflict - by contrast with Swedish expansion into Finland; nor did the introduction of Christianity entail the establishment of monasteries, by contrast with the situation in northern Russia or Iceland. The extension of the northern boundaries of Europe, therefore, provides interesting variants on the patterns of expansion elsewhere. This research programme falls into line with perspectives and ideas presented by Narve Bjørgo in a paper published in 1978: "Mellomalderens lokalhistorie i kjeldefattige bygder". Subsequent criticism and modifications are however crucial to our work.