Karen Oslund



Contact Info

LA 4230
MW 1:00-2:00; 5:00-6:00,
and by appt.


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2000

Areas of Expertise

Scandinavia, W. Europe, and the global Arctic, 1750-present; environmental history, history of science and technology; indigenous/native studies, colonial and postcolonial studies


Karen Oslund studies Scandinavia and the global Arctic, 1750-present, with particular focus on environmental history. She is the author of Iceland Imagined: Nature, Culture, and Storytelling in the North Atlantic (University of Washington Press, 2011).

Dr. Oslund is currently working on a project titled “Survival and Adaptation in Arctic Environments: Modern and Traditional Whaling in the Arctic, 1850-1920,” a comparative study of whaling in Danish Greenland, the Canadian Arctic, and the Russian North.

Selected Publications

Iceland Imagined: Nature, Culture, and Storytelling in the North Atlantic (University of Washington Press, 2011)
The Study of Language and the Politics of Community in Global Context, 1740-1940 (co-edited with David Hoyt), Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.
Cultivating the Colonies: Colonial States and their Environmental Legacies (co edited with Christina Folke Ax, Niels Brimnes, and Niklas Thode Jensen), Ohio University Press, 2011.

"Greenland in the Center: What Happened When Danish-Norwegian Officials met the English and Dutch Whalers in Disko Bay, 1780-1820," Acta Borealia: A Journal of Circumpolar Cultures, Spring 2016, vol. 33(1): http://site.uit.no/acta/

"Scarcity in the Arctic: A Colonial Condition?," in The Imagination of Limits: Exploring Scarcity and Abundance, ed. Frederike Felcht and Katie Ritson, RCC Perspectives 2015, no. 2, pp. 29-36

Recent Lectures and Presentations

"A Farm in Africa: Paul Erdmann Isert and Botanics in Eighteenth-century West Africa," at the 25th International Congress of the History of Science and Technology, Rio de Janerio, Brazil, July 23-29th, 2017

Háskóli Towsons: Teaching Old Norse at Towson University,” presentation for the “Goddesses, Queens, Valkyries, and other Women of the Viking Age,” symposium to honor Professor Emerita Jenny Jochens, in the College of Liberal Arts, Towson University, October 15-16, 2015.

“’Our attempts may yet be fruitful’: The Danish-Norwegian State and the North Atlantic in the 18th century,” in the panel, Instructions for Neptune: State Regulation of the Marine and Oceanic Environment in History, American Society for Environmental History meeting, Washington D.C., March 18-22, 2015.

"Survival and Adaptation: Modern and Traditional Whaling in the Arctic," 2015 outreach film for the Rachel Carson Center, available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lFvBKgHzpU.

Awards and Honors

American-Scandinavian Foundation Award for Study in Denmark, 2016-2017

Research Fellowship from the Rachel Carson Center for the Study of Environment and Society in Munich, Germany, for 2012-2013
College of Liberal Arts Summer Research Grant, Towson University, Summer 2011
Research Fellow in Environmental History, German Historical Institute, Washington D.C.,
(academic years 2004-2006)
Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellow in International Studies, John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress, Washington D.C. (academic year 2003-04)


SPRING 2022      
HIST 161 World History Since 1300    
HIST 336 Environmental History of the Modern World: 1492 to the Present    
HONR 370 Honors Seminar Advanced Topics: Viking Mythology