The history research at LTU is primarily focused on the modern period, mainly late modern times. Much of the research is in the field of history of science, technology, and environment. The focus is on research problems concerning technological and industrial change, particularly the extractive industries as well as changing attitudes and ways of interacting with the environment. Other key research problems concern migration and processes of change in education, science, and other types of knowledge production. An important profile area is indigenous history and the history of national minorities, especially Sami and Tornedalian.
The unit for history 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.
The history unit also conducts education in history. Here the content is very broad and extends from our earliest history to the present. The focus is on Sweden, but in a global context and with a perspective that allows us to illuminate the past in a way that illuminates the great variety of people and phenomena that have influenced the course of history. We offer courses within programs as well as independent courses, many of which are online courses.