Phd. Candidate from the University of Stavanger visits REDO in Oslo

Sidsel Undseth Bakke is a PhD candidate in literacy at the University of Stavanger, where she is working on the project "Religion and memory in the memorial messages collected after the terror attacks 22 July, 2011". In March she will stay at the University of Oslo as a visiting scholar with the REDO project.

Photo: Universitetet i Stavanger

In March, Sidsel Undseth Bakke will visit The Faculty of Theology. During her residency she will work with the Oslo based researchers in the REDO project.

Her PhD. project, focusing on memory, is highly relevant to the REDO project. The ritual response to the July 22 terror is the main case for REDO. With her project on memorial messages after July 22, Undseth Bakke will be an important interlocutor to the project.

The study examines how religion is used in a selection of texts from the spontaneous memorial sites at Oslo Cathedral and Stavanger Cathedral in the period July 23 to August 17, 2011.

The memorial messages consists of texts that were collected from the temporary memory locations that emerged around the country in the weeks after the terrorist attacks on July 22, 2011. In these places people gathered to join a community and share their reactions to what had happened. The most famous was the so-called “sea of roses” outside Oslo Cathedral.

The texts vary in content and form. We find handwritten greetings, drawings, photographs, quotes, printed and glued objects. We find sorrow, pain and anger, but also hope, love and care.

In some of the lyrics religious elements in various forms are used to bring out different reactions. It is these that are studied in Undseth Bakke’s Phd. project.

She is interested in examining what religious elements exist in the material and how these are generally used, in interaction with content that is not necessarily linked to religion, and in the face of the extreme July 22 situation.

The study is structured thematically, and theoretical perspectives are partly retrieved from the multimodal social semiotics, research on spontaneous memorials, "lived religion" theory and memory theory.

Based on the idea that religion live in people's use of religious elements and the idea that crisis situations can bring to the surface what is otherwise hidden,  Sidsel Undseth Bakke wants to investigate what memory material can tell us about the use of religion in Norway today.

Published Feb. 5, 2015 1:45 PM - Last modified Feb. 5, 2015 2:41 PM