Adam Hjorthén

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I am Associate Professor of history and Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the Swedish Institute for North American Studies (SINAS). I mainly teach classes in U.S. history, politics, culture, and society. My research focuses on U.S. cultural memory, and Swedish-American relations. I am currently engaged in research projects on ethnic heritage, the US Constitution, and political polarization.

I am the current Director of Graduate Studies at the English Department, and UU's member of Humtank.


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I have a PhD in history from Stockholm University (2015), where I was a doctoral student in the Research School for Studies in Cultural History (FoKult). In 2017–2020, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics at Stockholm University, and at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at the Free University of Berlin (as a postdoc in cultural history at SU, and through VR's international postdoc program). I have previously taught at the history departments at Stockholm and Uppsala, and been a visiting scholar at George Washington University and the University of Minnesota. Having taught at SINAS between 2020–2022, I became Senior Lecturer in American Studies in 2022, and docent/Associate Professor in 2023.

From 2012–2020, I was on the board of the Swedish Association for American Studies (SAAS), with the last four years serving as the SAAS President, and as Sweden's representative on the executive board of the Nordic Association for American Studies (NAAS). I currently serve on the boards of the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center at Augustana College, Illinois, and the Swedish-American Historical Society. Since 2021, I am the associate editor and book review editor of Swedish-American Historical Quarterly.

I am the 2018 recipient of the Loubat Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquity, for my dissertation (awarded every 3-5 years for a publication in North American archaeology, history, ethnography, or numismatics), and the 2015 Orm Øverland Prize for best graduate student essay from the Nordic Association for American Studies (NAAS).


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My research deals with American cultural heritage and cultural memory, and 20th and 21st century Swedish-American relations. I am currently engaged in two research project:

  • Refracting Roots: A Study of Political Polarization and Swedish Heritage in Contemporary United States (together with Adam Kaul, Uppsala University/Augustana College, Illinois)
  • A More Perfect Union? Public Scholarship and the United States Constitution in a Polarized Society (2024–2025, funded by the Democracy and Higher Education research program at Uppsala University.

These current research projects explore the intersections of cultural memory and political polarization in the United States today. They study white ethnic heritage through the case of Swedish Americans in Minnesota, as well as the public scholarship of the U.S. Constitution at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA.

My previous publications have explored the many ways in which histories of Swedish settlement and immigration in North America have been made meaningful and functional on both sides of the Atlantic. This includes studies of commemorations, monuments, museums, tourism, and the popular movement of genealogy. This research has for example resulted in my monograph Cross-Border Commemorations Celebrating Swedish Settlement in America (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2018).

I have also worked extensively with developing the analytical and methodological study of Swedish-American relations. Together with Professor Dag Blanck I am co-founder and co-organizer of the research network “Swedish-American Borderlands,” funded by the Swedish Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (RJ). 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. This work has resulted in a special issue of the Journal of Transnational American Studies (7:1), and the edited volume Swedish-American Borderlands: New Histories of Transatlantic Relations (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2021).


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Adam Hjorthén