The weekend of May 7th saw the Swenson Center's 40th Anniversary celebration. We opened our doors in September 1981, and have since developed into the leading archives, library, and research institute for the study of Swedish-American history and relations.
Initially, we focused on Swedish immigration to North America and the experiences of Swedish immigrants and their descendants. This history still remains central, but we have now expanded to include broader aspects of Swedish-American relations. In our 40th year, (+1, the pandemic altered our plans a bit!) we explored what this focus on Swedish-American relations could mean for the Center and the field.
The day started with a symposium "The Migration & Beyond: New Perspectives on Swedish-American Relations" in the Olin Auditorium from 1-4:30pm. Four speakers (2 Americans and 2 Swedes) gave talks highlighting their research that demonstrate new developments in the field of Swedish-American history and relations.
Opening remarks were given by by Dag Blanck, Director of the Swenson Center, and Ingrid Ask, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Sweden, Washington, D.C.
The following lectures were given:
Vikings and Dumb Blondes: The Construction of American Discourse on Nordic and Scandinavian Whiteness by Dr. Erika Jackson, Professor, History Department, Colorado Mesa University. The Swedish Peril! Warner Oland and the Birth of Film Propaganda by Kim Fahlstedt, Post-doc scholar, Department of Cinema Studies, Stockholm University.
Beyond Family: Swedish-American Genealogy, Business, and Cultural Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century by Adam Hjorthén, Senior Lecturer, Swedish Institute for North American Studies, Uppsala University An American Myth: Birth Control, Sex Education, and the Creation of the Swedish Sin by Saniya Ghanoui, Program Director, Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights, Suffolk University, Boston.
Recordings of these lectures will be available on our YouTube channel for a limited time.
Next followed an open house in the Swenson Center's reading room in Denkmann Hall featuring collection highlights from the past 40 years. Participants were also able to view a slideshow of highlights of our 40 years of activities, listen to Swedish and Swedish-American LP recordings, and mingle with symposium participants and guests.
Following the open house, friends had an opportunity to purchase a ticket to our celebratory dinner.
A welcome was given by Douglas Nelson, Chair of the Swenson Center Advisory Committee. Following dinner, remarks were given by Steve Bahls, President of Augustana College; Dag Blanck, Director of the Swenson Center; and Ingrid Ask, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Sweden, Washington DC.
Thank you to all who participated and helped us celebrate our 40th Anniversary. Here's to 40 more years to come! If you'd like to support the future of the Center, please consider becoming a member, donating to the Center, or including us in your legacy planning.