Research and Education at the Hugo Valentin Centre

The Hugo Valentin Centre is an inter-disciplinary unit at the Department of History with its main focus on research and education within two prioritized areas: on the one hand cultural and social phenomena and processes of change related to the ethnic dimension in human life, on the other hand Holocaust and genocide studies. To these subject fields belong for instance minority studies, multilingualism, ethnic relations, Balkan studies, Holocaust history, the study of genocide and similar atrocities, as well as the effect of violence on individuals and society. Research is carried out from Nordic as well as wider international perspectives, where culture, language, history, religion and politics are natural points of departure for the activities. HVC has the task to coordinate the research and teaching activities concerning the activity National minorities in Sweden (NAMIS) and to develop contract teaching courses. Teaching is primarily carried within the framework of the Master Programme in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, but also in the fields of minority studies, socio-linguistics and nationalism.

The Centre is named after the Swedish historian Hugo Valentin (1888–1963), a scholar and educator well-known in his time for his comprehensive history of the Jews in Sweden (Judarnas historia i Sverige; 1924). The book is still the main work on the immigration and integration of the Jewish group in Sweden. Beside a number of historical works on Swedish and general eighteenth-century history, Valentin also attained an unparalleled expertise on the so-called Jewish question in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, and monitored the development on the continent from the interwar years onwards, and during and after the Second World War. Books like the internationally disseminated and noticed Antisemitism: Historically and Critically Examined (1935; with several translated editions), as well as 'The Battle over Palestine' (1940) and 'The Jews during the Second World War' (1945) belong to his accomplishments here. His articles and speeches about Nazi Germany's politics of mass murder of the Jews from October 1942 and later are further among the first qualified treatments of these events in Sweden. Valentin earned respect also as a teacher at the upper secondary schools in Falun and Uppsala and as a public educator. He received the academic title of docent (approx. Reader) from Uppsala University in 1930, and was given the honorary title of professor by the Swedish government in 1948.