Terje Leiren




Professor Leiren teaches courses in Scandinavian history and culture for the Department. His teaching also includes the popular “History of the Vikings,” and courses in the Norwegian Studies program. Leiren joined the UW faculty in 1977 and served as Department Chair from 1995 – 2010 and as Acting Department Chair in 2014-2015.   Professor Leiren was appointed to be the Department’s first Sverre Arestad Endowed Chair in Norwegian Studies in 2007. He also has an appointment in the Department of History as Adjunct Professor of History.   In 1996, Professor Leiren was knighted by His Majesty King Harald V of Norway and awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit.

Terje Leiren’s research focuses on Norwegian studies and the cultural history of Scandinavian America. He is interested in questions of national identity, ethnicity, and cultural expression and has published extensively on the history of the Norwegian-Swedish Union (1814-1905), the establishment of the modern Norwegian monarchy in 1905, Sigurd Ibsen, and Marcus Thrane, a Norwegian radical labor leader who immigrated to the United States in 1864.  Leiren’s current research focuses on the life and work of Sigurd Ibsen

New Directions in Scandinavian Studies

Professor Leiren served as co-General Editor of the New Directions book series with the University of Washington Press between 2006 and 2015.  The UW Press New Directions series offers interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the Nordic region of Scandinavia and the Baltic States and their cultural connections in North America.  By redefining the boundaries of Scandinavian studies to include the Baltic States and Scandinavian America, New Directions in Scandinavian Studies presents books that focus on the study of the culture, history, literature, and politics of the Nordic region. To date, eleven books have appeared in the series.


Professor Leiren has contributed to, and appeared in, television productions for the History Channel, PBS, the A&E Network as well as NRK and TV2 in Norway.

UW Alumni Tours

During the past fifteen years, Professor Leiren has participated as lecturer and host on several tours on behalf of the UW Alumni Association’s UW Alumni Tours, the Norwegian Coastal Express line (Hurtigruten), and the Smithsonian Institution to Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Greenland, Ireland, Scotland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic.