Karen Oslund

Membership:  2012/2013

Member Bio

Karen Oslund is a historian, interested in whaling, indigenous hunting, and international environmental regulation. Her book, Iceland Imagined: Nature, Culture, and Storytelling in the North Atlantic (University of Washington Press in 2011), deals with the European exploration and writing about Iceland from the middle of the eighteenth century, and ends with a discussion of contemporary Icelandic whaling practices and the controversy surrounding them. Oslund received her PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles, and has also studied at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Iceland. In her current project at the Rachel Carson Center, Survival and Adaptation: Modern and Traditional Whaling in the Arctic, 1850–1920, she is working on Greenlandic, North American, and Russian whaling in the global Arctic.


  • Iceland Imagined: Nature, Culture, and Storytelling in the North Atlantic, Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books Series. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011.
  • Cultivating the Colonies: Colonial States and their Environmental Legacies, International Studies Series. Athens, Ohio: University of Ohio Press, 2011. Edited with Niels Brimnes, Christina Folke Ax, and Niklas Thode Jensen.
  • "Iceland in the Local and Global Nexus of Whaling Politics." In Iceland and the Image of the North. Edited by Sumarliði Ísleifsson, 285–303. Quebec: University of Quebec Press, 2011.
  • "Of Whales and Men: Images of Iceland and the North Atlantic in Contemporary Whaling Politics." In Images of the North: Histories, Ideas, Identities. Edited by Sverrir Jakobsson, 90–100. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008.
  • The Study of Language and the Politics of Community in Global Context, 1740-1940. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. Edited with David L. Hoyt.