Trained as an art historian and specialized in medieval studies, Aavitsland’s research focuses on visual sources to religious cultures in medieval and early modern Europe. She has worked on Cistercian art and spirituality in Italy, church art in medieval Scandinavia, and cultural memory in the early Protestant culture of Denmark-Norway in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. From 2015 she leads the transdisciplinary, international research project Tracing the Jerusalem Code – Christian cultures in Scandinavia, whose aim is to investigate the interpretations and applications of the idea of Jerusalem throughout Scandinavian history. She has also researched the history of cultural heritage safeguarding, especially with regard to church restorations, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Prof. Aavitsland teaches courses in medieval Christianity, religious practices, medieval material culture and ecclesiastical art. She supervises students on all levels.
«Remembering Death in Denmark-Norway during the Period of Lutheran Orthodoxy». Preparing for Death, Remembering the Dead (eds. T. Rasmussen & J. Flæten), Refo500 Academic Studies, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015.
«Defending Jerusalem: Visualizations of a Christian Identity in Medieval Scandinavia», Visual Constructs of Jerusalem (eds. B. Kühnel, G. Noga-Banai, H. Vorholt), Brepols 2014, pp. 121-132.
«Civitas Hierusalem: representing presence in Scandinavian golden altars». Image and Altar 800-1300. Papers from an InternationalConference in Copenhagen 24 October – 27 October 2007 (ed. Poul Grinder-Hansen), Syddansk Universitetsforlag, 2014, pp. 179-193
«Visualizing the Art of Dying in Early Protestant Scandinavia: A Reading of a Late Sixteenth-Century Tapestry from Leksvik, Norway», Journal of Early Modern Christianity, vol. 1, issue 1 (2014), pp. 115-141.
Harry Fett: Historien er lengst. Oslo: Pax forlag, 2014.
Imagining the Human Condition in Medieval Rome. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012.
«Nationalism, age values and cultural capital. Harry Fett and heritage preservation in 20th century Norway», in: Future Anterior 6/2, New York: Columbia University (2011), pp. 18-33.
«Visual Splendour and Verbal Argument in Romanesque Golden Altars». Acta ad archaeologiam et artium historiam pertinentia 24/10 (2011), pp. 205-225.
«Visualisert didaktikk? Det talte og det malte ord norsk middelalder». Vår eldste bok. Skrift, miljø og biletbruk i den norske homilieboka (ed. Odd Einar Haugen), Oslo: Novus Forlag, 2010, pp. 217-246.
«Ornament and Iconography. Visual orders in the golden altar from Lisbjerg», Ornament and order. Essays on Viking and Northern Medival Art (eds. M. Stang & K. B. Aavitsland), Trondheim: Tapir Academic Press, 2008, pp. 73-95.