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Nordic Whiteness and Migration to the USA

The anthology "Nordic Whiteness and Migration to the USA. A Historical Exploration of Identity" was launched at an event at the Norwegian Emigrant Museum on August 26, 2020. Scroll down for videos of the various presentations!


The event was held in the Memorial Church of Norwegian Emigration. The church, which once was named Oak Ridge Lutheran Church, was moved built near Houson, Minnesota in 1896. It was later dismantled, shipped, and moved to the museum. The site has a symbolic value as the church is representative of a Norwegian American institution that conserved language and culture among white, Norwegian immigrants.

Three of the authors of the anthology were present at the event, and they have recorded their respective presentations after the book launch in order to make them available to a larger public. The two editors and one of the authors who reside in the United States have recorded presentations prior to the book launch. The presentations display various perspectives in conjunction with the concept Nordic Whiteness which all are relevant in conjunction with the content of the anthology..

Introduction by the Museum's Director

Director at the Norwegian Emigrant Museum, Terje Mikael Hasle Joranger, is one of the editors and authors of the anthology. In this video he welcomes all to the museum and the book launch. His greeting includes a brief presentation of the museum and the anthology’s contributions to new perspectives in the field migration and ethnic studies and how the museum portrays Norwegian migration.

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Presentation of the anthology

Co-editor Jana Sverdljuk, Research Librarian and Curator of Migration Archives at the National Library of Norway, gives a presentation of the authors and the content of the anthology. She places Nordic immigration to the USA in a historical context and exposes the color-blind myths tied to Nordic immigration.

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Gender, Race, Whiteness, and American Perceptions of Nordic People

Erika K. Jackson, Associate Professor at Colorado Mesa University is one of the co-editors of the anthology and one of the authors. In this video she presents the concept of whiteness and presents her work and contribution in the anthology.

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The Relevance and Impact of the Anthology in Contemporary Society

by Peter Kivisto, Professor at Augustana College in Illinois and St. Petersburg State University i Russia, co-editor and author in the anthology. In this video he discusses the value and impact of the publication in a contemporary context.

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Silenced voices and resilience: the Sámi at home and in diaspora

by Ellen Marie Jensen, one of the authors of "Nordic Whiteness (...)". Jensen is an Indigenous Studies scholar and guest researcher at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research at the University of Tromsø. In her video lecture she discusses colonial policies and racialization of the Sámi population in the Norwegian nation-building process, and characteristics of Sámi diaspora and settlement.

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Reflections on Race and Nordic Migration in the Wake of George Floyd's Killing in Minneapolis

by Betty A. Bergland, one of the authors of the anthology and professor emirita at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She ties the relevance of Nordic Whitneness and Migration to the USA to ongoing debates on whiteness and racism. She links the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis to patterns of structural racism in the USA, to the surrounding Nordic immigrants and neighborhoods and to the content of the anthology.

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