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Dr. Mark Daniel Safstrom

Lecturer of Swedish and Scandinavian Studies of Germanic Languages and Literatures
European Union Center

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Contact Information:

  • Address:
    3117 FLB
  • Office Hours:
    • Fall 2016: W 1-2 and by appt.
  • Telephone: 217.333.1288
  • Email:


Ph.D. University of Washington 2010


Dr. Mark Safstrom is Lecturer of Swedish & Scandinavian Studies in the Germanic Languages & Literatures Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  His primary research interests are in 19th and early 20th century Scandinavian history, with emphasis on the so called "folk movements" (the temperance movement, labor movement, and the religious revivals), as well as the history of Scandinavian immigration to North America, and Scandinavian polar explorers and their travel accounts. 

Dr. Safstrom completed his PhD degree in Scandinavian Languages & Literatures at the University of Washington, Seattle in 2010. The title of his dissertation is “Religious Origins of Democratic Pluralism: Paul Peter Waldenström and the Politics of the Swedish Awakening 1868-1917.”  He has written on various aspects of Scandinavian travel literature, polar exploration, Scandinavian-American history, and Lutheran Pietism, examples of which are below.

Dr. Safstrom currently teaches courses in beginning and intermediate Swedish language, as well as Scandinavian literature in translation and Scandinavian history.  During the summers, he has frequently taught at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden as part of the INSPIRE exchange initiative. Together with Professors Dag Avango, Anna Stenport, Bruce Fouke, Alison Anders and Jonathan Tomkin and our collaborating partners at Illinois and KTH, Dr. Safstrom has helped to establish a joint course between the two universities called the “Stockholm Summer Arctic Program: Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic” with field site components in Svalbard, Norway and Northern Sweden.



Book Contributions

  • "The Polar Hero’s Progress: Fridtjof Nansen, Spirituality, and Environmental History." Arctic Environmental Modernities: From the Age of Polar Exploration to the Era of the Anthropocene. Ed. Anna W. Stenport, Lill-Ann Körber, and Scott MacKenzie. Palgrave MacMillan, 2016.
  • "The ‘Waldenström Party’ in Swedish Politics 1868-1917; Interpreting the Political Activism of the Swedish Awakening." The Pietist Impulse in Christianity. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2011.
  • "Writing History Together; Norwegian- and Swedish-American Historians in Dialogue." Friends and Neighbors? Swedes and Norwegians in the United States. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2011.

Journal Articles

  • "Making Room for the Lost: Congregational Inclusivity in Waldenström’s Squire Adamsson." The Covenant Quarterly 71.3-4 (2013): 52-72.
  • " Defining Lutheranism from the Margins: Paul Peter Waldenström on Being a ‘Good Lutheran’ in America." The Swedish-American Historical Quarterly 63.2-3 (2012): 101-134.
  • "Speaking to Swedish Publics: The North American Travel Writing of Paul Peter Waldenström." Swedish-American Historical Quarterly 58.2 (2007): 105-117.