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Swedish Embassy Invite

Associate professor of history presents research on Swedish-American history at embassy seminar

Did you know there is an Ikea room in the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C.?

Of course you did.

Associate Professor of History Erika Jackson, PhD, used the room as a workspace when she visited the Swedish Embassy in Washington D.C. this past November. Jackson was participating in a seminar held at the embassy titled “Swedish Footprints in the U.S. — New Perspectives on Swedish- American History.”

Jackson was invited to present at the seminar by Dag Blanck, the director of the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Jackson met Blanck during a fellowship at the center while completing her doctoral work.

“He’s been such a dear mentor to me over the years and has been really supportive of my work,” Jackson said.

Blanck asked her to present on the research she recently completed for a book titled Scandinavians in Chicago: The Origins of White Privilege in Modern America. Jackson said the book explores ideological and gendered concepts of Nordic whiteness and Scandinavian ethnicity, and also places the Scandinavian- American experience within the context of historical whiteness.

She said one of the highlights of the trip, besides the Ikea room of course, was a dinner at the home of the Swedish Embassy’s chief deputy. There she met and talked with leading American and Swedish history and culture scholars.

The invitation to speak at the Swedish Embassy opened other professional opportunities for Jackson. She is collaborating with one of the Swedish scholars she met on a project focusing on memory and Swedish-American culture. She has also been invited to apply to become a visiting lecturer at Stockholm University, where she would teach a course during the summer.

Jackson said her academic interests in Swedish history arose directly from her family’s ethnic heritage.

“I was raised on my mom’s side of the family as a very proud Swedish-American. We had all of the cultural customs, especially around the holidays,” she said. “My grandparents would put together a large smorgasbord for Christmas and for Easter and we would go to Swedish language Lutheran services.”

She hopes the trip will be the springboard into an exciting and productive 2019.

“I’m mostly just really excited for what the next year’s going to bring with my book coming out and I’ve already had a number of opportunities open up to me. So, it’s very exciting.”


Written by Josh McDaniel