Research

Research is one of MUV’s main tasks.

We aim to develop socially relevant research projects that combine MUV’s three tasks of managing, disseminating and researching the University’s historical legacy. Our research goes hand in hand with communication online, exhibitions and our curatorial management of artefacts, done in collaboration with departments and faculties. Our research is strongly related to, but not restricted to, the history of the University of Oslo.

University history and the history of science are closely related, but not identical, fields of study. Universities are not the only place where academic research takes place, and universities are much more than research: they are places for education, shaping of professions, socialisation of elites, cultural and social tensions, and much more. To enhance our understanding of the University, its internal life, and its role in society, we need to study not only the history of science, in its narrowest definition, but also the wide array of other societal tasks and functions incorporated in a university. We also need to see the University as a meeting point between our local, national society and the international academic world.

MUV’s research is part of the activities of the Department of Ethnography, Numismatics, Classical Archaeology and University History (SENKU) at the Museum of Cultural History (KHM). MUV also participates in research collaboration with other UiO units and external institutions.

Current research: A history of intelligence

Curating, researching and disseminating the history of psychological testing and measurement from World War I to the present.

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This project deals with the development and use of various techniques for psychological testing and measurement in Norway from World War I until today. The goal is to explore the extent to which and how these kinds of techniques have played a role in the development of pedagogy, psychology and psychiatry as research disciplines, university subjects and professions – and as providers of scientific expertise to resolve various societal tasks. The project also aims to shed light on the emergence of “intelligence” and other concepts and categories that have been and are being used to conceptualise, describe and categorise people’s mental characteristics. Last, but not least, the project aims to investigate the correlations and interactions between these phenomena. Psychological tests and measurement techniques have been tailored to answer specific research questions and/or resolve specific societal tasks; but how have these techniques affected the experts’ knowledge of the human mind, and how has this knowledge affected society?

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