UPDATE: the first full draft of the cabin book is done! I’m keeping this page up as a record of how the project was conceptualized, and correcting some of the titles in the list.
I was hired on as a four-year postdoctoral research fellow in January 2009 on the merits of a proposed project that examines what cabins (“hytter”) signify in Norwegian literature from roughly 1814 to 2005. Since then, the span of time has expanded back a little to start in 1770.
The idea is to look at how cabins and similar spaces such as the seter (shieling, mountain dairy, summer dairy), which both typically are constructed in transitional or liminal spaces poised between civilization and wilderness, function as signifiers over a broad sweep of time. In a country with few national or urban institutions, cabins seem to have become imbued with an unusually rich array of meanings. I am interested in how and when contemporary attitudes and assumptions about cabin practices arose, and how cabins may have signified differently for earlier generations.