Alexander Bielicki is a researcher at the Center for Research on Discretion and Paternalism, and holds a Ph.D. in Cultural History / History of Religions from the University of Oslo.
He has previously worked as a Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Oslo, and his main research interest include interrelated themes of nation, religion, identity and belonging, particularly in the contexts of Scandinavia and East Central Europe.
Doctoral Thesis: “A nation in worship? : constructing nationhood and devotion at the Slovak national pilgrimage to Šaštín.”
PhD in Cultural History / Histroy of Religions, University of Oslo (UiO).
MA in Nationalism Studies, Central European University
BA in Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh
Get to know Alexander
What is your background?
For years I’ve bounced between related fields and related topics, but the common element has always been a focus on nationalism and national identity, though from varying perspectives. The research for my MA and PhD was situated in Central Europe, but since that time I’ve shifted focus towards Scandinavia. For almost a decade, I’ve taught courses at the University of Oslo on the Norwegian welfare state, national identity and belonging, and immigration and integration. Over the past couple of years, I’ve begun to work more closely with issues of institutional and social trust, both in teaching and research.
Is there a book you’d recommend within your field?
Well, the book I most frequently recommend to my students is Michael Billig’s Banal Nationalism. It’s the best point of entry for understanding how ‘everyday nationhood’ functions.
If you had to choose a different field, what would it be?
My wife tells me about this dying tradition of folk healers in former Yugoslavia- and I’m sure many other places- who diagnose (and treat) without any standard medical equipment – just by using touch. I’m told that I have a knack for that; not that it has much to do with instincts. Probably has something to do with all the courses in human skeletal analysis I took when I was an undergraduate student (long story). Still, that would be super interesting!
Is there a TV-show you are binging?
I’ve never cared for the Star Trek franchise, but after watching Star Trek Discovery, which now might be one of my favorite shows, I’m submersing myself in the Star Trek universe. I’m currently binging The Next Generation. It’s over-the-top, it’s gaudy, the acting is sometimes unbearable, but it more than makes up for all of that with its fantastic social commentary.
Which podcast are you listening to right now and why?
I’m an avid reader when it comes to news and politics, but for some reason I can’t stand these types of things going into my earholes. When it comes to podcasts, only comedy will do. There are several weekly comedy podcasts that form the soundtrack of my commute, housework and even sleep, but if I must mention only one, I guess I should go with a classic like Comedy Bang! Bang!
And a place you’ve been where you’d like to go back?
There are many places to which I’d like to return, but these days I find myself longing for a relaxing beach holiday. With two small kids, the relaxing part of the equation is probably not in the cards. But a warm, sandy beach is calling me.