Karin Lillevold


PhD Candidate



I am an anthropologist and a PhD Candidate at the environmental humanities project "Gardening the Globe: Historicizing the Anthropocene through the production of socio-nature in Scandinavia, 1750-2020", led by professor Kyrre Kverndokk (cultural studies).

My PhD project has the preliminary title “Performing nature in Dovrefjell” where the alien species muskox (ovibos moschatus) plays a central part. In short, I am researching the conservation practices and how people relate to and perform nature through their practices. In particular I am interested in how the (re-)introduced muskox stirs up this mix.


This project aims to explore how nature is performed through practices of protection, restoration and historical narration. I am doing an ethnographic case study of the national park Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella in central Norway. This area has been under protection since the early 20th century and is interesting for several reasons: It is of utmost symbolic value to the nation of Norway and was used in the oath sworn when the Norwegian Constitution was established; it has been protected for having some of the most unique types of nature Norway has to offer; the ancient animal musk ox was (re-)introduced in the area in the 1930s – an animal that had not lived there since before the last ice age but is now seen as one of the key species in the park; one of the few remaining wild rendeer herds inthe world lives here; and parts of the landscape has been used for military training and has now been sought restored back to an imagined “natural” state. All these elements are interesting aspects of the social production of this landscape and the shifting notions of what this landscape has been viewed as. They are also interesting examples of different techniques of “purifying” nature and protecting it from the “unpure”. A particular focus in my project will be to gain knowledge of the different imaginaries and visions of ‘nature’ that has governed these practices, both historically and contemporarily, as processes being part of what has led to the Anthropocene.



I hold a MA in Social Anthropology from the University of Bergen from 2014, where I wrote about national identity in Iceland with focus on understandings and meanings of landscape, nature and sense of place - focusing on the national park Thingvellir.