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Adam Hjorthén


Personal Profile




PhD in History, Stockholm University, 2015


MA in History, Uppsala University, 2010


BA in History and Psychology, Stockholm University, 2008



Academic Positions


2017 (August) – Current

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of History of the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin & the Section for History of Ideas, the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University.


2017 (Jan-July)

Postdoctoral Researcher in cultural history, the Section for History of Ideas, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University


2016 (Fall)

Lecturer, Swedish Institute for North American Studies (SINAS), Uppsala University


2016 (May) – 2017 (Jan)

Lecturer, Department of History, Stockholm University


2015 (Nov-Dec)

Research Assistant, Linneaus University


2011 (Feb) – 2016 (May)

Doctoral Candidate, the Research School for Studies in Cultural History, Department of History, Stockholm University



Parental Leave


2018 February–August (full time leave)





2016 – 2017

Affiliated researcher at the Swedish Institute of North American Studies (SINAS) at Uppsala University


2013 (July–Dec)

Visiting scholar at Department of American Studies, George Washington University


2013 (Jan-June)

Visiting scholar at the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota



Awards and Fellowships (selected)



Awarded the Loubat Prize of American History of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquity, for my 2015 dissertation research.



Research Initiation Grant, the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, together with Prof. Dag Blanck



International Postdoc, the Swedish Research Council



The Orm Øverland Graduate Student Essay Prize of the Nordic Association of American Studies (NAAS)



Research Initiation Grant, the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, together with Prof. Dag Blanck



Resarch and Travel Grant, Sven & Dagmar Saléns Stiftelse



Research and Travel Grant, Helge Ax:son Johnsons Stiftelse



Research and Travel Grant, the Sweden-America Foundation and the American-Scandinavian Foundation



The Dagmar and Nils Williams Olsson Visiting Scholar Award of the Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois



Service to Profession (selected)


2016 – Current

President of the Swedish Association for American Studies (SAAS) and Board Member of the Nordic Association for American Studies (NAAS)



Co-chair of the Higher Seminar in the History of Ideas, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University


2016 – Current

Member of Advisory Board for the Stockholm Centre for Critical Heritage Studies (SCCHS) at Stockholm University


2014 – 2016 Secretary of the Swedish Association for American Studies (SAAS)



Co-organizer of seminar series in Global and Transnational History, Department of History, Stockholm University


2011 – 2014

Co-Editor of Valör: Konstvetenskaplig tidskrift



Organization of conferences



“Open Covenants: Pasts and Futures of Globa America,” the 10thBiennial Conference of the Swedish Association for American Studies (SAAS), co-arranged with Bo G. Ekelund and Oskar Nordell



“Swedish-American Borderlands: A Workshop” at Sigtunastiftelsen, co-arranged with Dag Blanck



“Swedish-American Borderlands: An International Conference” at Uppsala University, co-arranged with Dag Blanck



Symposium: “La Commune (1871),” at the ABF House in Stockholm, co-arranged with Daniel Strand 


Research Profile


I have a PhD in history, and currently hold a dual position as Postdoctoral Researcher at the JFK Institute and at Stockholm University, Sweden. I am the recipient of the Loubat Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities, and since 2016 I serve as the President of the Swedish Association for American Studies (SAAS). My research focuses on public history—including commemorations, monuments, museum exhibitions, public festivals, and the popular movement of genealogy—and Swedish-American relations in the 20th and 21st centuries.


I recently published my first book, titled Cross-Border Commemorations: Celebrating Swedish Settlement inAmerica (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2018).The book provides the first in-depth study of cross-border commemorations, and thus contributes to the emerging field of transnational public history. It explores this little-known phenomenon through the case of Swedish settling in America, focusing on the 1938 New Sweden Tercentenary and the 1948 Swedish Pioneer Centennial. These commemorations recognized the 1638 founding of the New Sweden colony in the Delaware Valley, and the mid-19thcentury arrival of Swedish pioneers to the Midwest. By delving into a wide variety of sources, the book analyzes the contents, functions, and effects of the celebrations. It demonstrates the ways that these events were used to promote international relations at times of great geopolitical change. Organized jointly by cultural leaders, politicians, and businessmen on both sides of the Atlantic, the commemorations forwarded individual agendas on the foundations of chauvinistic settler histories and racialized claims of transatlantic bloodlines.


My ongoing project concerns transatlantic genealogy, and is financed by the Swedish Research Council. It has the working title “The Transatlantic Family: Swedish-American Genealogy and Historical Belonging across Borders, ca 1945–2015.” The study proceeds from the observation that genealogy is a practice occupied with questions of historical belonging and, at the same time, that much of genealogy is concerned with tracing ancestors outside of national borders. Empirically, I study the development of Swedish-American genealogy—that is, the culture and practice of genealogy based on histories of the Swedish nineteenth-century mass emigration to America. Since WWII, the steady growth of genealogy has been coupled with the establishment of an enduring genealogical infrastructure in both countries, consisting of archives, societies, and journals. With the help of these infrastructures, genealogists have produced a substantial amount of historical writings that assign meaning to family trees that cross the Atlantic. The aim of this project is to trace the different ways that varying social, political, commercial, religious, and academic interests have shaped a transatlantic genealogical infrastructure, and how that infrastructure in turn have been used by individual genealogists to produce knowledge about family history.


Together with Professor Dag Blanck at Uppsala University, I am the co-founder and co-organizer of the research network “Swedish-American Borderlands,” funded by the Swedish Council for Humanities and Social Sciences. This international and interdisciplinary network—which gathers twenty-plus scholars from Europe and North America—is an attempt at reconceptualizing the broader field of Swedish-American relations. We have so far arranged one conference in Uppsala, one workshop in Sigtuna, and are currently working on an edited volume titled Swedish-American Borderlands: New Histories of Transatlantic Relations(under contract with the University of Minnesota Press).



Books and Edited Volumes


Cross-Border Commemorations: Celebrating Swedish Settlement in America(Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2018)


Swedish-American Borderlands: New Histories of Transatlantic Relations, ed. with Dag Blanck (manuscript in progress; under contract with the University of Minnesota Press)


“Special Forum: Sweden,” in Journal of Transnational American Studies7, no. 1 (2016), ed. together with Dag Blanck





“Border Crossing Commemorations: Entangled Histories of Swedish Settling in America” (PhD diss., Department of History, Stockholm University), 337 pp.



Journal Articles


“Svensk-amerikanska relationer: Om förnyelsen av ett forskningsfält,” in Historisk tidskrift(forthcoming, no. 1, 2019), with Dag Blanck.


 “Transnationalizing Swedish-American Relations: An Introduction to the Special Forum,” Journal of Transnational American Studies7, no. 1 (2016), with Dag Blanck. 16 pp


“’Here is the Beginning of Pennsylvania’: A Settler Commemoration and the Entangled Histories of Foundational Sites,” Journal of Transnational American Studies7, no. 1 (2016). 19 pp


“A Viking in New York: The Kensington Rune Stone at the 1964–1965 World’s Fair,” Minnesota History63, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 4–14


“Displaying a Controversy: The Kensington Rune Stone as Transnational Historical Culture,” in Swedish-American Historical Quarterly62, no. 2 (2011): 78-105


”En viking i New York: Kitsch, kommersialism och historiemissbruk på världsutställningen 1964/1965,” Valör: konstvetenskapliga studier, no. 3–4 (2010): 19–33


”Turkiet 1:25: Historiebruk och identitet i Miniaturk,” Valör: konstvetenskapliga studier2 (2009): 3–14



Book Chapters


“Swedishness by Blood: Transatlantic Genealogy on Twenty-First Century Television,” in The Dynamics of Cultural Transfers, ed. Anna Williams and Margaretha Fahlgren (Uppsala: Avdeldningen för litteratursociologi, 2017). Reprinted in The Swedish-American Historical Quarterly(forthcoming, fall 2018)


“Global Histories and Cross-Border Commemorcations,” in Commemoration: The American Association for State and Local History Guide, ed. Seth Bruggemann (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017)


“Örnen och flaggan,” Svenska Sjömanstatueringar, ed. Mirja Arnshav (Stockholm: Medströms, 2014)


 “The Past is a Present: On the Rhetoric of Monuments and United States Universalism”, in Making Cultural History: New Perspectives on Western Heritage, ed. Anna Källén (Nordic Academic Press, 2013)


Book Reviews


Review of David M. Krueger, Myths of the Rune Stone: Viking Martyrs and the Birthplace of  America(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015), in Minnesota History65, no. 8 (December 2017).


Review of Lennart Pehrson, Den nya tiden: Utvandringen till Amerika III (Stockholm: Albert Bonniers förlag, 2015) in Tidskriften Respons4 (August 2015)


Review of Yvonne Maria Werner (ed.), Kristen manlighet: Ideal och verklighet 1830–1940, in Historisk Tidskrift1, (2010): 151–153



Opinion and Miscellany


“Framtiden formas av de förfäder vi väljer,” Svenska Dagbladet, 7 March 2017


“Chauvinistisk yra över svensk stöld,” Svenska Dagbladet, 13 February 2015


 “SVT går nationalismens ärenden,” SVT Opinion, 20 October 2014


 “Därför ska Sverige sluta fira sin koloniala historia,” Dagens Nyheter, 15 May 2013


“Välgörenhetens ogärningar,” Mana4–5 (2009)