Bild: utomhus ansiktskportätt av leende kvinna mot grönska

Photo. Mikael Wallerstedt

About Jennifer's research

My research focuses primarily on critical analyses of places with contested histories and challenging social and environmental conditions, such as the neighbourhoods of the Swedish “Million Program”, the ambitious project that created one million housing units between 1965 and 1974. By weaving together history and anthropology, I explore society, culture, politics, and ecology in the built environment with a particular emphasis on theories and methods from environmental humanities.

Currently, I am a Pro Futura Scientia Fellow at the Swedish College for Advanced Study, where my project, “Public Modernism: Reports from the Welfare City”, is producing new paradigms for analysing post-war housing projects across spaces, scales, and species (including everything, from chard to rats). In my book, The Construction of Equality (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), which won the Margaret Mead Award, I developed an ethnographic history of the built environment created by the Syriac Orthodox Christians in Södertälje, Sweden.

I have been a co-editor of the anthologies Rethinking the Social in Architecture (Actar, 2019) and Life Among Urban Planners (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020). I am also on the editorial board of Thresholds and Human Organization and am an Associate Editor for Housing, Theory and Society.

Downloadable images

Bild: utomhus ansiktskportätt av leende kvinna mot grönska

Photo. Mikael Wallerstedt


In brief

Interests: Music enthusiast who was a radio DJ for many years and loves to sing karaoke. I enjoy gardening but struggle to keep the plants alive. I have recently become obsessed with reading science fiction novels that raise questions about social exclusion.
Other: I lead a Dance Fusion class at Friskis&Svettis several times a week, where the music we dance to (at the moment) spans everything from Cuban salsa to 80s disco to cumbia to ethno-metal. I am also a proud Ohioan.

The present is marked by environmental, political, and social turbulence. How can Swedish educational institutions and research institutes improve the conditions in a tumultuous world of climate change, war, and upheaval? How can researchers navigate new political and legal challenges in their work? I am part of SUA to develop innovative and collaborative action within a community. I am passionate about research policy (including issues of academic freedom and ethics) and interdisciplinary approaches. Whether this means prioritizing the voices of the powerless or questioning the actions of the powerful, I believe that investments in equality and reaching the public are crucial for the future of research in these challenging times.

More with Jennifer

Podcast: SCAS TALKS Episode 55 – Jennifer Mack: “Modernist Suburbs and Their Missing Stories”

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