The Research Group for Culture Studies (KuFo) is one of Karlstad University’s prioritised research environments. Since 2009, KuFo has functioned as a multidisciplinary forum for leading research within the humanities and cultural studies at the university.
The researchers are employed in English Literature and Linguistics, Comparative Literature, History, Intercultural Studies, Visual Art in Theory and Practice, and Cultural Studies, which comprises History of Ideas as well as Art History and Visual Studies. Activities include regular work-in-progress workshops with systematic reviews of different kinds of texts, including applications for external funding, as well as seminars on research publication and guest lectures. In addition, KuFo organises international conferences and symposia, collaborates with cultural institutions, and supports Ph.D. programs. Many of KuFo’s researchers supervise Ph.D. students in the humanities.
KuFo’s members have different approaches but recurring themes are grounded in narratology, genre and adaptation theories, as well as in meetings between culture and politics, culture and health, and art and science. The group is held together by a common interest in the theory and practice of culture – both in its aesthetic, philosophical, and social dimensions and in its geographical and historical dimensions from past to present. KuFo’s work in relation to the study of these features of culture includes mapping, exploring, and actualising cultural phenomena and discourses, as well as critically examining their content, distribution, and social functions.
Culture is a carrier of different ideas and values. It does not just reflect and depict the world, but has an active role in shaping it. Consequently, KuFo pays particular attention to contextual aspects of cultural expressions. This focus entails that close study of verbal and visual cultural phenomena is combined with attention to how specific contexts are connected both to what it means to be a human being and to important contemporary societal issues.