Sverre Bagge - Biography#


I have been employed at the University of Bergen since 1970, and have during my career had a number of shorter or longer stays abroad: Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge, 1979-80 and life member of the college, Directeur d'études associé at the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris, 1992, Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, 1995, Visiting Professor at Aarhus University, Denmark, 1996. Lectures and research visits to several other universities: Oxford, London, Berkeley, Seattle, UCLA, Sydney, Augsburg, Rotterdam, Bonn, Münster, Frankfurt, Munich, Zürich, Basel, Freiburg, Göttingen, etc., plus several Scandinavian universities.

I started my studies at the University with Greek and Latin, which, in addition to learning the languages gave me an insight in literary and philological methods that I have found valuable during my later career. After my Master’s thesis on institutional history, I became interested in intellectual history and wrote my doctoral thesis (1979, published, English version 1987) on The Kings Mirror, the main treatise on political thought in the Middle Ages in Scandinavia, composed in Norway, in Old Norse, around 1250. I studied the work partly as part of the general European tradition of royalist ideology through a comparison with earlier or contemporary mirrors of princes from all over Europe, plus pamphlets, charters and other sources, partly in the context of the challenges facing the contemporary Norwegian monarchy, notably through the expansion of royal justice. The thesis was followed by two books on European history of the Middle Ages, one addressed to the general public, one a textbook for students. In addition to giving me a better overview over European history, this led me to the Annales school and the history of mentality, first by reading and later by personal contacts with French historians, notably Jacques Le Goff, whom I twice invited to Bergen. A stay at the Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris in 1992 was important in this respect. Partly through the Annales school and partly in other ways I also acquainted myself with social anthropology and historical sociology.
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