Gunnar W. Knutsen

About me

I was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1968. My parents were Norwegian, and had done what my grandparents did: leave Norway in search of better opportunities abroad. My grandmother and grandfather spent years in the USA before returning to Norway. My parents went to Scotland, England, and Sweden for education and work. I lived in three different countries before I was one year old.

My father’s work led him to have extended contact with Spain, and I have had Spanish friends since I was four. Learning the language later seemed an obvious choice, and thus my father’s work as an engineer came to influence mine as a historian since language skills are fundamental in opening archives and literature to us.

Later I married a Turkish woman, though my Turkish is so pitiful that I despair of ever gaining a professional proficiency in that language. Inevitably, however, it has nourished my interest in Ottoman history, and that has certainly influenced how I see matters such as the Protestant reformations, European empire building, early modern trade, and several others.

Life is an adventure where personal experiences feed back into my research and teaching, and allows me remain enthusiastic about my work, and about new discoveries and understandings every week.