About the institute

The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture is an independent research institution that supports research in the comparative fields of linguistics, folklore studies, religious studies, ethnology, archaeology, and ethnography.

The institute’s academic profile and various forms of support contribute to the execution of high-quality research projects with narrow and/or interdisciplinary focuses.

History of the Institute

The institute was established in 1922 on the initiative of Professor Fredrik Stang. One of the main ideas behind its establishment was science’s responsibility for international understanding and cooperation. The sufferings of the First World War resonated with the funding authorities, and from the outset, the institute had significant funds at its disposal.

During the interwar period, the institute was a central research institution both nationally and internationally. It funded extensive research projects, organized numerous international symposiums, and annually published several key scientific works. After the Second World War, due to inflation and reduced public funding, the institute has had to play a less central role and has essentially limited its activities to contributions to research trips and book publications.

Fredrik Stang

Fredrik Stang (1867-1941), was the founder and first chairman of the institute. Painted by Henrik Lund

Steamship agent Nils Pedersen and his wife Mathilde Pedersen’s reward for outstanding work in comparative cultural research

This reward is awarded by the board of the Institute for Comparative Cultural Research and consists of an amount of NOK 10,000 distributed annually for a period of five years.

For the period from 2022 to 2026 the award is granted to Professor em. Lise Bender
Jørgensen, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The Board of the Institute 2022 – 2024

The institute is governed by a board, three members of which are appointed by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the remaining four by the University of Oslo, the University of Bergen, the University of Tromsø, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Arne Bugge Amundsen

Chairman (photo): Professor Arne Bugge Amundsen (University of Oslo)

Deputy chairman: Professor Olaf Smedal (University of Bergen)

Professor Asbjørn Dyrendal (The Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
Professor Inger Storli (University of Tromsø)
Professor Ingvild Sælid Gilhus (The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters)
Professor Bernt Brendemoen (The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters)†
Professor Dag Michalsen (The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters)