My academic research has focused on Scandinavian-American communities in the Upper Midwest. I have conducted fieldwork with several individuals in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and have published and presented work about identity formation, the role of churches as spaces of Swedishness, and even linguistic aspects of the Swedish language in Swedish-American communities.

I am currently working on a project about Signe Aurell, a Swedish immigrant to the United States who lived in Minnesota for seven years before returning to Sweden. During Aurell’s time in Minnesota, she worked as a laundress, joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), translated songs and poetry from English into Swedish, and published a book of Swedish poetry. She also published extensively in Swedish-language labor newspapers in both Sweden and the United States and agitated for the formation of a union of domestic women laborers. Yet she is missing from historical records of Swedish immigration, labor lore, and women’s history in general. By examining Aurell’s life, especially her role as an immigrant domestic laborer and labor activist, I will help to shed light on the role of women in the labor movement in the early 1900s. I will contextualize Signe Aurell within the broader labor movement and within the Swedish immigrant community – those who left and those who returned.

Läs mer om min avhandling på svenska:
2015Amerika tur och retur” i Norra Skåne
2015 “Efterlysning: Signe Aurell” i Allt om Osby och Allt om Göinge, s. 6.

For a full listing of my publishing record and conference presentations, please click here. Below is a sampling of my publications as well as photographs that I took during my fieldwork.

Immigrant ethnic identities, such as Swedish American, are a conglomeration of different yet mutually intelligible ideas, forms, and practices which emerge through the koineization process over the course of several generations of prolonged contact. The questions of how and why a relatively uniform immigrant ethnic identity develops from the regional diversities of an immigrant group’s home country guides this paper’s examination of what I posit to be a cultural koiné, comprised of seven principles of koineization. I use these principles to explain the formation of an ethnic identity of Swedish Americans using examples from fieldwork in the Upper Midwest.

  • 2014 “Swedish Space in Upper Midwestern Churches.” American Studies in Scandinavia, 44.1: 29-47.

This paper builds upon the intersection of ethnic identity and Swedish-American scholarship produced by Gradén, Klymasz, Schnell, et. al. Through an analysis of the ritualized culture of the community and the church, as well as through an analysis of reported cultural practices and forms of folklore, this paper demonstrates that the church in the Swedish-American community of the Upper Midwest acts as a space in which Swedish ethnicity, identity, even heritage and history are created.