For quite some time our research interests have covered a wide range of topics. This is especially true of the doctoral dissertations; traditionally doctoral students have had great freedom of choice as regards their dissertation topics. Because of the recent reformation of doctoral studies in Sweden, we are now striving to concentrate the research to fewer areas.
Medieval history has attracted increasing interest in the last few years, and it is now something of a speciality at the Department especially as the earlier Middle Ages are not really studied systematically anywhere else in Sweden. There are roughly ten doctoral students specializing in medieval history, investigating questions about power, land, and ownership.
For a long time, research into social history of the Early Modern period has been pursued at the Department; for example agrarian development, population growth, and urban development. Cultural history is another strong area. One of our specialities is to combine these two research areas and study the interaction of social conditions and the cultural sphere.
A major portion of the research at the Department has focused on the history of the last century. Here the breadth of topics has been especially wide. The connection between the three chronologically defined areas is the West-Swedish perspective. The Department has a special responsibility for research on the history of our region, and over the years a number of dissertations have dealt with different aspects of development in the west of Sweden. Under the direction of Professor Christer Winberg, the Department has coordinated the Faculty of Arts-West-Swedish programme, which resulted in a book about how the western part of the country became Swedish.