The history unit is characterized by the subject's participation in research and educational initiatives that aim to solve important societal challenges in our time. One example is in polar research. Today, the Arctic region is characterized by pressure from rapid climate change, along with business interests in raw material extraction, tourism, and shipping. This creates challenges for people who live and work there as well as for efforts to achieve the global sustainability goals. By producing knowledge about how actors in the north have handled similar change processes in the past, we at the unit for history, together with researchers in other disciplines, contribute to producing new knowledge about how we can best handle change and to teach future decision-makers about the complexity of these problems.
Employees at the unit for history have also contributed to the investigation appointed by the Swedish government on the Swedish state's abuse of Tornedalians, Meänkieli-speaking and Kvens. Here, we produce knowledge about actions in the past to create conditions enabling future reconciliation. This research is linked to a broader field of research on how history and cultural heritage are constructed and used in our time, to which the unit for history contributes. Today, there is a growth of anti-democratic movements that use stories about the past in order to pave the way for another society. History and cultural heritage have also been used to legitimize abuses and violations of human rights, today as well as in the past. Historians have a special responsibility here - not only to contribute to a diverse knowledge of history, but also to shed light on the consequences of destructive uses of history, and thus contribute to critical thinking.