Research at SINAS

A central research focus at SINAS is to explore the global relevance of U.S. culture and society. We investigate the significance of U.S. culture from a range of different perspectives, including the history of migration, American influences on the world, film history, and popular culture.

SINAS regularly arrange conferences and symposia within the field of American studies:

Conferences, seminars, and lectures.

Current Projects

Currently, the following research themes are of particular significance to SINAS:

Sweden and the U.S.:  Trans-Atlantic and Trans-National Relationships.

There is a long interest in different types of contacts betrween Sweden and the United States, which continues to inform work at SINAS.

One important aspect has been the the history and consequences of the Swedish mass migration to the U.S. during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Here, historians from Uppsala University took an early lead, but today the field inlcudes scholars elsewhere in Sweden and in the U.S. Together with scholars and institutions in the U.S., SINAS continues this Uppsala research tradition by focusing on different aspects of Swedish ethnic life in the U.S. and on relations between Swedish Americans and other ethnic groups.  

A recent development in Swedish-American history focuses on contacts between indigenous North Americans and white settlers, which seldom have entered into historical analyses of European, Scandinavian, and Swedish settlements.

We have also broadened our interest in the migration of individuals to also inlcude the migration of ideas. Since the early 1990´s, scholar at SINAS have examined how Sweden has been influenced by the United States . The work has been inspired scholarly debates about national and transnational processes of culture. This scholarship has also critically examined the concept of "Americanization", emphasizing how various "American elements" have been incorporated, domesticated and contextualized into Swedish cultural patterns.

Many of these interests have come together in a SINAS network of scholars interested in what we call Swedish-American BorderlandsClick here for a further presentation of this network..

The Trans-Atlantic research theme is headed by Dag Blanck

Border Studies and the Western Hemisphere

Border Studies, in the U.S. context, came about as an academic field in the 1980s. Initially Border Studies referred to the study of culture and society along the US-Mexico border. However, the imaginary and theoretical implications of the border, e.g. as a site of exchange, exclusion, inclusion and protection, obviously reach far beyond the study of the US-Mexico borderlands. Recent scholarship in Border Studies includes further topics that are central to American Cultural Studies including, for example, sexual, gender, ethnic, racial distinctions and their social and symbolic constructions. Theoretical issues such as transgression, transnationalism, border regimes, and cultural citizenship are also viewed as being crucial to the study of borders. Certainly the history and mythology of the Frontier – important issues of American Studies – must be reassessed within the critical study of border regimes. SINAS has been engaged in scholarship exploring the history and the cultural imaginary of border constructions in the Western hemisphere and in transatlantic perspective.

One of the ways  in which SINAS encourages methodological transnationalism is by setting the study of U.S. and Canadian history in relation to “the Americas” (that is South-, Central-, and North America, and the Caribbean). The Western Hemisphere thus functions as a region of critical reference. We understand hemispheric American literary and cultural studies as one of several more recent approaches to American Studies that challenge American exceptionalism and that explore several connections between the US and the world. However, in order to avoid simply replacing national borders with new, or shifted regional borders, this critical regionalism entails the necessity of contextualizing the Americas in further global histories. Thus hemispheric American studies as we wish to articulate it, is attentive, firstly, to not reproducing concepts of American exceptionalism that have characterized American culture and American studies for a long time and, secondly, to not installing a new regionalist exceptionalism of ‘the Americas.

This research theme is headed by Markus Heide.