Professor Leiren teaches Scandinavian history and culture for the Department. His teaching also includes third- and fourth-year language and culture courses in the Norwegian Studies program. Leiren has been a member of the UW faculty since 1977 and served as Department Chair from 1995 - 2010. Professor Leiren was appointed to be the Department's first Sverre Arestad Endowed Professor in Norwegian Studies in 2007. He also has an appointment in the Department of History as Adjunct Professor of History. In 1996, Professor Leiren was awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit by His Majesty King Harald V of Norway.
Terje Leiren’s research focuses on Norwegian studies, primarily 19th and early-20th century Norwegian history and the cultural history of Norwegian-America. He is interested in questions of national identity, ethnicity, and cultural expression. Leiren has written extensively on the history of the Norwegian-Swedish Union (1814-1905), the establishment of the modern Norwegian monarchy in 1905, Sigurd Ibsen, and the American career of Marcus Thrane, a Norwegian radical labor leader who immigrated to the United States in February, 1864, where he edited several newspapers, wrote and produced plays of the immigrant experience while agitating for a more enlightened Scandinavian-American populace. Leiren's current research looks at one of the lesser known figures in the events of 1814, Carsten Tank Anker, Norway's representative to England in that fateful year.
Professor Leiren has published two books and several scholarly articles which focus on the American life and work of Marcus Thrane, a Norwegian radical labor leader and agitator in the middle of the nineteenth century.: Marcus Thrane: A Norwegian Radical in America (Northfield, MN: Norwegian-American Historical Association, 1987) and Selected Plays of Marcus Thrane (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008 and Northfield, MN: Norwegian-American Historical Association, 2008). The plays were written between 1866 and 1882.
Professor Leiren has contributed to, and appeared in, television productions for the History Channel, PBS, the A&E Network as well as NRK and TV2 in Norway.
UW Alumni Tours
During the past fifteen years, Professor Leiren has participated as lecturer and host on several tours on behalf of the UW Alumni Association's UW Alumni Tours, and the Smithsonian Institution to Greenland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Scotland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic.