David Östlund, PhD (Södertörn University) made his third visit to the department this year, after coming as a Fulbright scholar in 2004 and as a Visiting Professor in 2011. During Fall 2017, he activated a research project concerning the interplay between social reform and industrial efficiency during the first decades of the 20th century, exploring the ways in which American ideas—like Taylor’s Scientific Management—shifted meaning and potential when they were transplanted into a Swedish context. Sweden has long been held up by admirers and detractors alike as the epitome of modernity, a living example of a possible future for other countries. Östlund’s Winter 2018 course “Crystal Ball of Modernity: Sweden’s Path as a Global Comparison Case” explored the use of Sweden as such a case study, including Donald Trump’s recent negative references in speaking to Americans about immigration. Östlund called it “a special privilege” to be a faculty fellow at Telluride House at the University of Michigan, where he lived with students and faculty of very diverse backgrounds and experiences. There he found a microcosm of Ann Arbor’s very ambitious and open-minded intellectual environment.
There is a term in Swedish for a place you have found where you feel at ease and can be sure to find things you like when you return: a 'smultronställe' meaning 'a spot of wild strawberries.' In my life, Ann Arbor has become a 'smultronställe.'