Tonje Haugland Sørensen is working on a doctoral thesis with the title "Remembering a Different Norway - the creation, transmission and hegemony of the visual memory culture concerning the narrative of the Nazi Occupation of Norway." As the title implies, the focus of this study will be the relationship between remembrance and the World War II film in general, and the Norwegian cultural memory and what can be termed the Occupation Drama in particular. Using theories as diverse as cultural memory, rhetoric and iconography, the project aims to examine the supposed connection between film and memory, and the role of films as a “celluloid memorial”, wherein film can be said to be part of a visual memory culture.
Sørensen holds a masters degree in Art History from the University of Bergen, on the theme of visual representations of history through monuments in Imperial Germany, with a particular focus on the pictorial program in the reconstructed medieval palace in Goslar. She has published articles on the use of Frederick Barbarossa in the 19th Century nationalistic German art, as well as on the reconstruction of the old Norwegian hall, Håkonshallen, in Bergen. Her interests include visual constructions of the past, theories of collective and cultural memory and the role of images therein, as well as the visual culture of the long 19th Century and the two world wars. As an extended part of her work regarding the 19th century, Sørensen is also working on the interpretation given Byzantine art and culture in the 19th century, with a focus on Byzantinism and the Neo-Bysantine art and architecture and its place within the cultural memory of orientalism.