Maja Hagerman

Maja Hagerman  is a Swedish writer, historian and filmmaker with a long record of books and films on historical topics. She is living in Stockholm.

She holds an Honorary Doctorate from Uppsala University, and continues her research on racial biology, photography and international scientific networks as an affiliated member of the Center for Nordic Studies (CENS) at the University of Helsinki, Finland.   

As a Senior Lecturer in Arts at Dalarna Audio Visual Academy, at Dalarna university, her main interest is historical documentary production and new possibilities for exploring, understanding, and mediating history. She has developed a set of new courses on ”Film as a Narrative Medium for Cultural Hertage and History” Link.

She has published seven books on Swedish history, early medieval and prehistoric times but also modern history, and made several historical documentaries for Swedish Televison. 

She made her debut with the book ”Spåren av kungens män. Om när Sverige blev ett kristet rike”, on the making of the Swedish kingdom and its christianization. The book won the August prize for non-fiction in 1996.

Her biography on the Swedish racial biologist professor Herman Lundborg (1868-1943)  ”Käraste Herman. Rasbiologen Herman Lundborgs gåta” has been translated to German ”Herman Lundborg. Rätsel eines Rassenbiologen” by Krister Hanne ( published 2020 by Berliner Wissenschaftsverlag- Verlag, Berlin) This is a highly praised an fascinating story, and it is the first book ever written on the physician and professor Herman Lundborg who headed the world’s first State institute for racial biology in Uppsala, Sweden, from 1922 to 1935, and was internationally well renowned for his research, especially among German-speaking supporters of racial hygiene. Like many of his German colleagues he supported the Nazis. Lundborg was obsessed by the threat of racial mixing between Sámi, Finns and Swedes. On his travels in the north, he was drawn to a woman of Finnish-Sámi descent, and had a child with her. The book was nominated for the August prize for best non-fiction of the year in Sweden.

”I hope this book will be translated into English: eugenicists were real people, living in the real world with real problems. it is vital to know this rather than exoticising them”, says historian Marius Turda at Oxford  Brookes University in an article about the book the April issue of BBC Hisrtory Magazine

Together with Claes Gabrielson, Hagerman also made a documentary on Lundborg, was broadcast on Swedish Television. There is also an English version of the film, ”What Measures to Save a People? A film about Herman Lundborg, head of the Swedish State Institute for Race Biology.” avaliable for streaming. Link

She has also published on Lundborg in English:

  • Visual typologies: A Nordic type. Photgraphy and the international network of racial science, in Thresholds: Interwar lens media cultures 1919 – 1939 / [ed] Mats Jönsson, Louise Wolthers, Niclas Östlind, Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König , 2021, 1, p. 298-333
  • A Racial Biologist in Laponia, in Writing the North of the North. Construction of Images, Confrontation of Reality and Location in the Literary Field/ l’Ecriture du Nord du Nord. Construction d’images, confrontation au réel et positionnement dans le champ littéraire/ Den Norden des Nordens (be-)schreiben. Bildkonstruktion, Wirklichkeitsbezug und Positionierung im literarischen Feld / [ed] Annie Bourgignon and Konrad Harrer, Berlin: Frank & Timme, 2019.

Texts at Academia. Link.