Terje I. Leiren

Professor Emeritus of Scandinavian Studies, Sverre Arestad Endowed Chair in Norwegian Studies
Terje Leiren

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Ph.D., History, University of North Texas, 1978
M.A., History, California State University, Los Angeles, 1970
B.A., History/Political Science, California State University, Los Angeles, 1966

Professor Leiren teaches courses in Scandinavian history and culture for the Department. His teaching also includes the popular "History of the Vikings," and courses in the Norwegian Studies program. Leiren joined the UW faculty in 1977 as professor of Scandinavian studies and history.  He served as Chair of the Department of Scandinavian Studies from 1995 - 2010 and as Acting Department Chair in 2014-2015.   Professor Leiren was the first holder of the Department's Sverre Arestad Endowed Chair in Norwegian Studies from 2007 to 2017. He also held an appointment in the Department of History as Adjunct Professor of History   In 1996, Professor Leiren was knighted by His Majesty King Harald V of Norway and awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit.

Terje Leiren’s research focuses on Norwegian studies and the cultural history of Scandinavian and Scandinavian America. He is interested in questions of national identity, ethnicity, and cultural expression and has published extensively on the history of the Norwegian-Swedish Union (1814-1905), the establishment of the modern Norwegian monarchy in 1905, Sigurd Ibsen, and Marcus Thrane, a Norwegian radical labor leader and playwright who immigrated to the United States in 1864.  Professor Leiren is the co-author (with Jan Sjåvik) of an updated and revised second edition of the Historical Dictionary of Norway published by Rowman and Littlefield Publishers in 2019.  He is also the author of two books on Marcus Thrane: Marcus Thrane: A Norwegian Radical in America (1987), and Selected Plays of Marcus Thrane (2007).

New Directions in Scandinavian Studies

Professor Leiren served as co-General Editor of the New Directions book series with the University of Washington Press between 2006 and 2015. Eleven books were published in the series during his tenure.  The UW Press New Directions series offers interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the Nordic region of Scandinavia and the Baltic States and their cultural connections in North America.  By redefining the boundaries of Scandinavian studies to include the Baltic States and Scandinavian America, New Directions in Scandinavian Studies presents books that focus on the study of the culture, history, literature, and politics of the Nordic region.  During his time as co-general editor, eleven books appeared in the series.


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.


Selected Research

Courses Taught

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Home Department
Professional Affiliations
Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study (SASS); Norwegian-American Historical Association (NAHA); Norwegian Researchers and Teachers Association of North America (NORTANA); Society of Historians of Scandinavia (SHS); American Historical Association (AHA)

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