I have been attached to Södertörn University since September 2006, when I was accepted as a doctoral student in History. I belonged to the National Graduate School in History and was formally a doctoral student at the University of Lund. However, my academic workplace was always Södertörn. In September 2011 I defended my doctoral thesis Kärlek per korrespondens. Två förlovade par under andra hälften av 1800-talet (Love by Letters. Two engaged couples during the second half of the nineteenth century). My thesis work was part of a larger and multidisciplinary research project, Enchanted Identities, financed by the Swedish Baltic Sea Foundation.
In my thesis, Kärlek per korrespondens, I studied the love letters of two middle class couples written during their engagement period. My focus was gaining knowledge about, and understanding of, what it was like to initiate, form and live in a love relationship during the second half of the nineteenth century. A central aspect I examined more closely was the encounter between the experience of loving and being loved and the contemporary conceptions of love and marriage. This was an aspect that especially one of the studied couples, Hanna and Harald, struggled with and discussed at length during their five years of engagement. Another aspect I highlighted and problematized in my thesis was the importance of love letters in the two couples' relationships. Using epistolary theory and its emphasis on the ability of letters to dissolve both time and space, I showed that the letters served as a very physical kind of meeting place for the engaged couples, especially for Hanna and Harald.
In 2012 I was given a two-year postdoctoral position within the research project Borgarklassens diskreta charm (The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie). My research interest was redirected from the Swedish context to the Baltic lands and the Baltic German ethnic group, who for seven hundred years (until 1919/1939) had constituted a social, political and economic elite in the area. My focus is still, however, on questions concerning gender and cultural history. In my present research I am doing an intersectional analysis of the Baltic German middle class in Riga during the period 1860 to 1914, a period when the group's elite status for the first time became seriously challenged. I specifically investigate the social life of the Baltic Germans at their summer vacation resorts, especially at the seaside villages at Rigasche Strand (present-day Jurmala), and their relations and boundary drawing practices towards other ethnic groups: Latvians, Jews, and Russians. (The question concerning bathing in the nude versus family excursions to the beach was for instance a very hotly debated issue).
In 2013 I received a research grant from the Baltic Sea Foundation for my own project, Paradox at Road's End. The Simultaneous Fall of the Baltic German Elite and the Emancipation of its Women, 1905-1939. Here, I continue my studies of the Baltic German elite but the time perspective is now the first four decades of the twentieth century. An important part of this project is to analyse and problematize the women's movement among the Baltic Germans during this period.
Apart from my research, I have taught a number of courses on different levels in History and Gender Studies. I have also been involved in the teachers' training programme here at Södertörn University.