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School of Politics and International Relations

Ida Roland Birkvad

 Ida Roland Birkvad


Supervisors: Prof Kimberly Hutchings (SPIR), Dr Rick Saull (SPIR) and Dr Simon Reid-Henry (School of Geography) 

Research topic: An Intellectual History of Aryanism

My PhD thesis seeks to understand the concept of Aryanism as a set of contingent and contradictory discourses connecting India and Europe, both historically and in the present. Aiming to trouble the Eurocentrism associated with conventional understandings of the concept where Aryanism is understood primarily as a figment of the European imperial imagination, the project sets out to explore the concept in its myriad, connected imaginaries. Focusing on how the concept mediates ideas of connection between India and Europe, the project is alive to how Aryanism joins ideas of Western esotericism and ‘the occult’ with imperial structures of racialised and casteist inclusion and exclusion, its ‘progressive’ narratives of civilisational connection across colonial asymmetries, and its association with anti-colonial agitation, Hindu nationalism and an increasingly globalised Right. In these ways, the project seeks to make a contribution to global intellectual history and postcolonial theories of conceptual travel, ultimately understanding Aryanism as a history of our collective present.

I am also associated with FINEX, a research project on financial exclusion, Islamic finance and housing in the Nordic countries. The project is based at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and is funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

Work experience: Prior to joining the School of Politics and International Relations, Ida worked as a research assistant at PRIO (Peace Research Institute Oslo) for three years. In 2017, Ida co-taught an undergraduate level course on Hindu religion and politics at the University of Oslo.


Latest peer-reviewed article: “The Ambivalence of Aryanism: A Genealogical Reading of India-Europe Connection.” Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 2020, 49 (1).

Miklian, Jason & Ida Roland Birkvad. 2016. “Religion, poverty and conflict in a garbage slum of Ahmedabad”, International Area Studies Review, 19 (1).

Latest blog post: Judith Butler Goes to Norway, on The Disorder of Things Blog.


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