About the department

Globalised world calls for cultural knowledge

The department's primary objective is to conduct research of the highest international order. The research includes a wide range of disciplines, the most important of which are literature and social studies, history of religions, anthropology, archaeology and history.

The department thus contributes to the development of our knowledge of culture and - not least - a better understanding of different cultural, historical and current phenomena in this globalised world that harbours so many potential conflicts because of the increasing number of cross-cultural meetings. The department wants to communicate this knowledge by educating candidates and by extensive interaction with the business community, the media, schools and all institutions that depend on knowledge of historical and contemporary cultures.

Language as a means to understanding

The department offers 28 programmes that all share one characteristic - insight into parts of the world that lie outside Western Europe and North America. Regional insight is a precious commodity which is in high demand in the business world, the media and society as such. The department therefore works to develop and maintain an expertise in the different regions' languages because linguistic competences are the key to studying source material, culture and society. The individual sections teach one or more languages that are relevant to their geographical area, e.g. Asian languages such as Chinese and Japanese, Middle Eastern languages such as Arabic and Hebrew, Slavonic languages such as Russian and Polish and one Western European language, Modern Greek.

The department wants to strengthen the cross-cultural and comparative perspectives so that the regional may be seen in a broader context. These perspectives have been integrated into each programme, and in order to stengthen the interregional vision the department has established a Centre for Comparative Cultural Studies that offers electives and MA programmes. The Minority Studies Section offers a study programme which is wholly interdisciplinary. The cross-cultural perspective is strengthened by the History of Religions Section where the relations between regional religious expresions and international movements are investigated. The department's historical dimension is nourished by the study of archaological relics and ancient languages. Particularly the study of Middle Eastern, Meso and South American prehistoric cultures play an important role in the department's historical research.