Associate professor, at the department of Economic History, Uppsala University with a focus on changes in agriculture, buildings and consumption during the 18th and 19th centuries. Special area: manorial economy and material culture.
Key words: agriculture, household, working organization, buildings, landscape, estates, country houses, farms, economy, consumption, auctions, pawnbrokers, 17th century, 18th century, 19th century.
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My interest in historical research was founded in my high school years. For several years I worked in archaeology, but later decided to turn to economic history. I received my PhD in economic history in 2004 at Uppsala University. The topic of my dissertation was changes in buildings and farmhouses at estates, vicarages and farms during the 18th and 19th centuries, in the light of the changes in farming, landscape, household and work organization. The dissertation was published by Gidlund publishing house.
Since then my research has been branched into both historical consumption and credits, and manorial history.
Consumption and credits
Between 2005 and 2009, I worked on the project The forgotten consumption. The role of auctions in relation to the transformation of society in the 18th and 19th century. Together with associate professors Sofia Murhem and Kristina Lilja, I investigated the role of auctions in the 18th and 19th century society in the capital Stockholm, in the small town Enköping and in the countryside of Uppsala county. The project was financed by The Swedish Research Council. The result was published in the monograph Den glömda konsumtionen. Auktionshandeln i Sverige under 1700- och 1800-talen (The forgotten consumption. Auctions in Sweden during the 18th and 19th centuries) at Gidlund publishing house in 2013.
Between 2010 and 2014 I worked on the project Old Credits. The development of pawn-broking in Sweden in relation to the development of other systems of credit, regulations and the emerging welfare state 1850-1950, financed by the Swedish Research Council and Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation. PI was associate professor Sofia Murhem. This project enrolls two PhD-students, Tony Kenttää and Lisa Ramqvist.
From 2015 associate professor Sofia Murhem and I will work in the project The Swedish Church as a financier in rural Sweden 1750-1900 financed by the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation.
Country houses and estates
Since 2012, I am the PI of the project Economy, management and material culture at country houses in 1700 – 1900, financed by Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation. Project members are associate professor Gudrun Andersson and PhD student Beverly Tjerngren at the Department of History, Uppsala University. The aim of the project is to investigate the economy of the estate owning families during the 18th and 19th centuries. We are interested in their sources of income, investments, consumption and the material culture in their houses, furnishing, clothes etcetera, and how this changed over the years.
My interest for Country houses started in the early 1990´s since when I have published several books and articles on the subject, such as the books Herrgårdarnas historia – arbete, liv och bebyggelse på uppländska herrgårdar, (The history of the estates – work, life and material culture on estates in Uppland county) in 2008 and Höja säteri (Höja manor) in 2015. I have been editor of e.g. the books Sjöö slott – tradition och manifestation (Sjöö manor – tradition and manifestation) in 2008, and Engsö slott (Engsö manor), in 2011.Database on Swedish manors
Since 2012 I run the project Database on Swedish manors, in which I collect data on estates in Sweden. The first goal is to identify the estates, using a set of criteria. I have defined six criteria, of which a minimum of four must be fulfilled in order to be defined as a manor.
1. A manor should have been a landed property excepted from taxes (Swedish: säteri.)
2. A manor should have had an estate consisting of tenant farms with tenant farmers paying a lease.
3. A manor should have had a differentiated labor force, where the work was overseen by a steward or foreman, and undertaken by farmhands, farm maidens, bond servants and cottagers. There were also special workers such as gardeners, carpenters, footmen and maids.
4. A manor should have had a high-class main building with a differentiated order of rooms, such as a hall, drawing-room and bed-chambers for the family, as well as servants’ quarters.
5. A manor should have had gardens and/or parks.
6. A manor should have had an owner belonging to the Elite, noble or non-noble.
Through these six criteria, it is possible to identify what a manor is. The reason why four criteria are enough is that many manors in historic times did not fulfill all the six criteria, but were still considered by their contemporaries as manors.
Using that definition we can detect between 3000 manors in Sweden during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The database contain information on the manors’ location (parish, hundred and county), the acreage of the manors and the estates, the owners’ titles, names and surname and their partner’s titles, names and surname, at different dates from the middle ages to present day. This has resulted in around 1 200 000 pieces of information from around 3000 manors in Sweden. The data is avaible at the searchable homepage (www.svenskaherrgardar.se) were it is possible to make cross searches and download the results into excel files for further calculations.
I manage an e-mail list for those interested in research on manors and manorial culture in Sweden. Messages are sent out irregularly with information on new research projects, books, articles, exhibitions etcetera. The list has 690 members in Sweden and Scandinavia. If you want to become a member of the e-mail list, please send me an e-mail.
I am also engaged in the Nordic network for studies on castles and country estates. Once a year the network arranges a symposium in a Nordic country, attracting between 50 and 80 participants.
Since the year 2013 I am the editor of Bebyggelsehistorisk tidskrift, one of the leading periodicals in Scandinavia on historic housing, architecture, gardens and landscape.
I am an active member of several historical societies, among them Föreningen Gamla Bion i Örsundsbro (which has restored and now run a cinema from the 1920:s, showing movies and arranging concerts), Hagby hembygdsförening, Lagunda hembygdsförening, Upplands fornminnesförening, and Länsforskningsrådet i Uppsala län.
Teaching and presentations
During the last five years, I have given lecture series and seminars at courses in Economic history such as Globalisering - ett historiskt perspektiv (Globalization from a historical point of view) and Ekonomi och Samhälle (Economy and Society, a historical perspective), as well as courses in Agrarian history at the Section of Agrarian History, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
I give regularly presentations for local historical societies, museums and companies, trying to spread information on agrarian history, economic history, consumption and country houses and manorial culture.
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