Focusing on two celebrations of Swedish settlement in America—the 1938 New Sweden Tercentenary and the 1948 Swedish Pioneer Centennial—Hjorthén examines a wide variety of sources to demonstrate how cultural leaders, politicians, and businessmen used these events to promote international relations between the United States and Sweden during times of great geopolitical transformation. Cross-Border Commemorations argues that scholarship on public commemoration should expand beyond national borders and engage the shared and contested meanings of history across local, national, and transnational contexts.
"Cross-Border Commemorations makes a significant contribution to the emerging body of scholarship on transnational public history."—Tammy S. Gordon, author of The Spirit of 1976: Commerce, Community, and the Politics of Commemoration
"This exhaustively researched history explores how cross-border ceremonies were products of extensive negotiations between nations and people, illuminating the sensitivities, emphases, and omissions that influence the creation of public memory in a given geopolitical context."—Julia Creet, coeditor of Memory and Migration: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Memory Studies
"What makes Cross-Border Commemorations so interesting is that it deals with historical events celebrated by several different groups at the same time and place, but with different interests and agendas. To picture this as a history belonging to only one group or pertaining to one national historiography ignores what really motivates these celebrations. This is imaginative scholarship that encourages readers to go beyond one’s comfort zone in thinking about the meanings and processes involved in migration—today and in the past."—Gunlög Fur, author of A Nation of Women: Gender and Colonial Encounters Among the Delaware Indians
"While engaging larger genres of scholarship in imaginative ways, Cross-Border Commemorations is also a pathbreaking contribution to a rich and prolific Swedish and Swedish American historical scholarship, representing an important shift to transnational public relationships, borderlands, and a rich tradition of commemorative recollection."—Journal of American History
"What is most important about Hjorthén’s scholarship is that it draws upon new concepts related to identity development and goes beyond the narrower approaches of the past."—Minnesota History