Since 2013, the U of I Press has been home to Scandinavian Studies, the official journal of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study. This interdisciplinary journal features work in the humanities and social sciences on the languages, cultures, and histories of the Nordic region, including the countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, ranging from medieval to contemporary times. Published quarterly, Scandinavian Studies is now in its ninety-first volume year and is currently edited by Susan Brantly and Thomas A. DuBois, professors in the German, Nordic, and Slavic Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
We are proud to build on our commitment to the field of Scandinavian Studies with the publication of Erika K. Jackson’s Scandinavians in Chicago: The Origins of White Privilege in Modern America. An insightful look at the immigrant experience in reverse, Scandinavians in Chicago bridges a gap in our understanding of how whites constructed racial identity in America.
“Makes a significant and long overdue contribution to
Swedish- and Scandinavian American history by explicitly
framing the Chicago experiences in a larger ethno-racial
American context. By doing so, Jackson places herself in
the forefront of Scandinavian American historiography.”
—Dag A. Blanck, coeditor of Norwegians and Swedes in
the United States: Friends and Neighbors
Scandinavian immigrants encountered a strange paradox in 1890s Chicago. Though undoubtedly foreign, these newcomers were seen as Nordics—the “race” proclaimed by the scientific racism of the era as the very embodiment of white superiority. As such, Scandinavians from the beginning enjoyed racial privilege and the success it brought without the prejudice, nativism, and stereotyping endured by other immigrant groups. Jackson’s work examines how native-born Chicagoans used ideological and gendered concepts of Nordic whiteness and Scandinavian ethnicity to construct social hegemony. Placing the Scandinavian American experience within the context of historical whiteness, Jackson delves into the processes that created the Nordic ideal. She also details how the city’s Scandinavian immigrants repeated and mirrored the racial and ethnic perceptions disseminated by American media.