Research and Publications


“Great States, Non-states, Stakeholders: What the Arctic Tells us About Changing Norms of Sovereignty.”

Book Chapters

Ahlness, E.A. “Within our Borders: Indigenous Internationalization and State Response.” University of Wisconsin Press (forthcoming).

Beginning in the 1920s, the Sámi engaged in attempts to mobilize across Scandinavian borders, precursors to their contemporary internationalization movements. Yet, over time, Scandinavian states have varied in their resistance to Sámi internationalization. Variation in Scandinavian resistance to Sámi mobilization established itself as a trend in World War II. Over the course of the war, Scandinavian states experienced varying degrees of internal conflict: Sweden was neutral, Norway was occupied, and Finland contained a war front. The internal fighting within each state made it more difficult for the international community, comprised of states and international organizations, to collect reliable or comprehensive information on Scandinavian domestic policies. Internal conflict escalation coincided with a decline in international monitoring capabilities, as Axis powers restricted interstate communication and federal policymaking prioritized wartime strategy over minority maintenance. These developments obscured Sámi policy from the international community. Examining the cases by increasing internal conflict levels—Sweden, Norway, then Finland—illustrates a trend in Sámi policy. Severe internal conflict coincides with more coercive Sámi repression by the state (including evacuation and forced conscription), as the wartime governments could repress Sámi mobilization with fewer fears of being caught or shamed by the international community.

Peer Reviewed Articles

“The Legacy of the Ting: Viking Justice and Effective Regional Governance.” World History Connected (Forthcoming).

This article serves audiences consisting of instructors of advanced high school students and college courses. Modern imaginings of Viking society alternate between lawless pillagers and independent, innovative traders. Yet Viking society, whether in mainland Scandinavia or in distant colonies, was subject to a rigorous system of law, many features of which we recognize today. While tied together through common features, including open assembly and voting among freemen, geographical constraints and local variation resulted in strong regional governance. Exploration of the features that contributed to regional self-determination, including codification of regional power at national levels, the necessity of regional capability given geographical spread, and community reliance also explain the persistence of a local politics mindset. The scale and operation of ting assemblies has fostered a distinct legacy, resulting in need to understand effective components of longevity. The case study of Viking society encourages students to consider elements of cultural features in continuity; regional geographical and cultural features shape persisting organizational structures. This creates features recognizable across a broad scope of time, sometimes persisting into modernity.

“The Handshake that Made History: The Norwegian-Minnesotan Troop Exchange.” The Cross Section 2(1): 4-15. 2014.

Norway and Minnesota share a common cultural history and enjoy strong fraternal bonds, symbolized by the stationing of the American 99th Infantry Battalion in Norway after World War II to help secure a post-war peace.  After the successful deportation of German soldiers from Norway, U.S. troops withdrew and the relationship visibility between the American troops and the Norwegian military gradually declined over the next several decades. In 1974, the U.S.-Norway Troop Reciprocal Exchange Agreement (NOREX) was established with a handshake between American National Guard soldiers and the Norwegian Home Guard. The military ties between the two countries were revitalized, along with newly forged diplomatic and increased cultural ties. This program ran successfully for 19 years before it became a formal agreement between the two countries. Since the successful inception of the U.S.-Norway Troop Reciprocal Exchange Agreement, the military relationship between Minnesota and Norway developed intersectional traits, including cultural, and fraternal ties. Based on the mutually beneficial outcome of the exchange, the NOREX program became the model of the United States’ State Partnership Program, which sought to further develop alliances with post-Soviet Union liberated countries.  Through the State Partnership Program, the U.S. has established troop exchanges between U.S. states and other counties, in turn leading to increased military cooperation, diplomacy, and cultural understanding, just as the employment of the 99th Infantry Battalion forged a relationship that continues today through the NOREX agreement.

“Janteloven and Social Conformity in Thorbjørn Egner’s Literature.” NCUR Proceedings 5(1): 547-554. 2014.

Janteloven is a set of fictional laws detailed in Danish author Aksel Sandemose’s 1933 book, “A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks,” which satirizes the Scandinavian view towards individuality versus the collective. These laws, consisting of rules such as “thou shalt not believe thou art better than us,” direct a negative attitude towards those who stand out from the cultural norm of Norwegian identity. This contradicts the ever-growing ethnic diversity in Norway today. Today, Janteloven is regarded as a sociological term describing the unified mindset ranging through Denmark, Sweden, and Norway that champions societies where inhabitants are encouraged to set the community’s needs over that of the individual’s. This mindset is most prevalent in acting as an agent of socialization though Norwegian children’s literature. A sample of eight children books by Norwegian author Thorbjørn Egner, published between 1940 and 1958, were analyzed, and examples of behaviors or speech exhibiting Janteloven behavior were recorded. These were scaled to the range of society affected: the individual, family, friends, or the community as a whole. Through this research, it was discovered that each book contains at least one example of a main character conforming to Janteloven behavior and social norms. The results of the research imply that Egner’s work strongly promotes community harmony over individual social achievement, contributing to the understanding that children’s literature enforces the Janteloven mindset. These findings help identify an area from which Norwegian cultural identity is shaped, and leads to the study of how this mindset creates attitudes that youth have toward their society, especially in an increasingly heterogeneous Norway.

“The State Partnership Program: States as Global Actors and the Implications of Non-aggressive National Forces.” MSU-Mankato Journal 14(1): 3-20. 2014.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States sought to increase its influence in Western Europe and Central Asia. The primary military mechanism used to increase presence and ideological influence was the State Partnership Program. This program, modeled heavily after the Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange, used reserve forces instead of active duty forces to lessen the aggression levels perceived by Russian command. This use of reserve forces gave individual American states a greater degree of involvement in international military operations. Since the creation of the State Partnership Program, 65 state/country partnerships have been established. The goals have also shifted from a purely military focus to a more infrastructural bent. By examining the motivations for involving reserve military forces through both realist and neoliberal lenses, this paper examines degree to which different causes influenced the creation of the State Partnership Program, and how these theories influence the continued operations of these military partnerships. The US-Norway and US-Poland partnerships were chosen as case studies, as each was established on strong military and democratic foundations. These different methods of analysis found that there were significant realist intents in beginning these partnerships, but that there is neoliberal purpose for maintaining the partnerships. This analysis shows there are potentially larger implications for partnering states with countries than just lessening perceived aggression. States have a higher capacity to specialize, can share cultural and ancestral identities, and can supports countries in their attempts to join international partnerships and IGOs.

Review Publications

“China’s Arctic Ambitions.” American Review of Canadian Studies. 2018

Working Papers

Please inquire if interested in receiving a working draft copy.

“Hegemonic Discourses in Homogeneity: Political Archetypes of Immigrants in Norwegian Media.”

“True Believers and Noncompliance: International Law, Norm Internalization, and Treaty Exits.” (with Bree Bang-Jensen)

“Personal Affronts: Authoritarian Indigenous Policy in Central Asia and Russia.”

“Greener Than Them: Perceptions of Minority Environmental Commitment in Homogeneous States.”

Other Publications and Media Outreach

Taste of Sarband: Culinary Histories and Dishes of Tajikistan. 2018.

“The Minimalist Student: Cutting Away the Excess for Greater Well-Being.” The Daily. January 12, 2018.

Sami Cooking: Educational Recipes from Finnmark and the Arctic Circle. Sons of Norway and Viking Magazine special. 2016.

The Handshake the Made History: The US-Norwegian Troop Exchange. Norwegian Armed Forces Library. 2014.

“Lapp.” The Cross Section 2(1): 16-17. December 2014.

“Students Globalizing their Education Through Study Abroad.” The Honors Beacon. Minnesota State University, Mankato Newsletter. April 2014.