Arnved Nedkvitne

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Arnved Nedkvitne
Born (1947-05-21) May 21, 1947 (age 69)
Nationality Norway
Fields mediaeval Norwegian history
Institutions University of Trondheim
University of Oslo
Alma mater University of Bergen

Arnved Nedkvitne (born 21 May 1947) is a Norwegian historian of the Middle Ages and Professor Emeritus of mediaeval history at the University of Trondheim and the University of Oslo. He held the chair of mediaeval Norwegian history at the University of Trondheim from 1991 to 1993 and at the University of Oslo from 1993 to 2009. He is a member of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters.


Born in Haugesund, Nedkvitne obtained his cand.philol. degree in history at the University of Bergen in 1975,[citation needed] and his dr. philos. degree in 1983 on the thesis Utenrikshandelen fra det vestafjelske Norge. He was a professor of mediaeval history at the University of Trondheim from 1991 to 1993, and was appointed as professor of mediaeval history at the University of Oslo in 1993.

Scholarly work[edit]

He has written several books, especially on trade relations in the Middle Ages and on literacy and beliefs in mediaeval Scandinavia.[1] A major research focus of Nedkvitne is also relations between the Hanseatic League and Norway.

According to historian Kåre Lunden, Nedkvitne has "authored several major works of Norwegian economic history. In recent years, he has been an important innovator, linked to the 'cultural turn' in the discipline".[2]

Controversial dismissal in 2009[edit]

In February, 2009, Nedkvitne was fired from his job by the university board of the University of Oslo[3] as the university claimed that he had "harassed" the institute director Jorunn Bjørgum and refused to be present in meetings called by her. Nedkvitne claimed that he had merely criticized the administration of the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, as well as Trine Syvertsen, the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities.

The case caused concern among other Norwegian professors and academics (including Jan Helge Solbakk, Henning Jakhelln, Bernt Hagtvet, Kristian Gundersen, Unni Wikan, Arne Johan Vetlesen, Anine Kierulf and Jan Fridthjof Bernt) that academic freedom was not respected by the university administration.[4] On March 11, 2009, it became known that Nedkvitne would bring the case to court with support from the Norwegian Association of Researchers.[5]

The case commenced before Oslo City Court in January 2010. Professor Finn Fuglestad testified that Jorunn Bjørgum was a "highly authoritarian" institute director,[6] while Professor Kristine Bruland testified that the institute leadership "systematically harassed emplyees."[7] Bruland's testimony was also supported by Professor John Peter Collett.[8] The city court found that the university was entitled to fire Nedkvitne. Nedkvitne first decided not to appeal to the High Court (Borgarting lagmannsrett) for economic reasons. The court's decision was criticized by several professors.[9] In February 2010, the Board of the Norwegian Association of Researchers decided to support an appeal financially, due the "principal character" of his case.[10] In March 2011 the High Court's decision upheld the City Court's decision, stating that the University of Oslo was entitled to fire Nedkvitne because he allegedly refused to attend a meeting with the director of the institute.

The University of Oslo offered to give Nedkvitne 2 years pay if he would turn in his resignation.[11]

Selected publications[edit]