Center for Global Studies

Back to Listing

The lupine’s dark shadow – Invasive species, environmental threats and the othering of flowers in SWEDEN

Event Type
academic, cultural heritage, invasive species
Co-sponsored by the European Union Center and the Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy (CHAMP)
Forbes Building, room 1005, 1816 S Oak St, Champaign, IL 61820
Nov 27, 2018   4:00 pm  
Dr. Mattias Frihammar, Dr. Lars Kaijser, Dr. Frederick Krohn-Andersson, and Dr. Maja Lagerqvist, all from Stockholm University
Free and Open to the Public
Helaine Silverman
Originating Calendar
European Union Center Events

Mattias Frihammar, Lars Kaijser and Maja Lagerqvist, all from Stockholm University, are currently developing a research project on so-called “invasive species.” When there are no so-called natural enemies in the new environment, invasive species can massively expand. For their example they are working on the flower, lupine, which is regarded as invasive.


The lupine came to Sweden from North America in the first half of the 19th century as a garden plant, but it has made a conceptual trajectory. What was then a beautiful and possibly useful flower is now seen as an alien element in the Swedish flora, and authorities and local groups work to limit its spread. A wide range of actors (different authorities, environmental organizations, private persons) are engaged in the elimination of lupines in Sweden. Swedes are fighting the lupines through the active weeding of the plant, and also through cultural arguments rooted in ideas of a typical Swedish nature.

This talk focuses on the municipality of Dalarna (Dalecarlia), where the authorities have been extra active in a war on lupines. On their website, in pamphlets and at official meetings, the municipal authorities describe lupines as dangerous intruders, which out-conquer other plants, threaten natural heritage, and spoil the traditional cultural environment. A challenge for the authorities has been the fact that people in general find lupines beautiful and appealing. This analysis reassesses the lupine as unwanted. Applying the concept of assemblage, the (new) status of the lupine as a dangerous and ugly feature in the landscape is re-interpreted as a (possible) effect of relations between species, other objects, emotions and different spirits of the times.


These colleagues are available for conversation any time on November 27 prior to their talk. Email them at:;




Mattias Frihammar ( is senior lecturer in Ethnology at the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender studies at Stockholm University and the coordinator of the Stockholm University Bachelor program in Museums and Heritage. He is interested in:
- heritages in a broad sense, right now with a special focus of the heritagization of the material and immaterial remnants of the Cold War period in Sweden
- social and cultural constructions of death, including funeral practices, cemeteries, rituals, beliefs, emotions
- how flora and fauna are framed within a broad notion of heritage with special focus on attitudes and practices that concerns invasive species


Lars Kaijser ( is Associate Professor in Ethnology at Department of Ethnology, History of Religion and Gender Studies. For some years he has been doing research on public aquariums around the world, focusing on how nature is staged and presented (both as narrative and as actual dioramas), and how these establishments use and perform science as entertainment. The heritage aspect in this case has to do with environmental changes: how is the historical “natural” state of nature represented in the displays? How can we (humans) preserve phenomena and environments of the past for the future? This also incorporates presentation of older beliefs and insights when understanding nature and environmental issues. This project is connected to a long scholarly traditions focusing how nature is staged in natural history museums, and how notions of nature have been intertwined with ideas about the nation. Other interests:
- Popular music studies as cultural heritage and as used in the field of tourism and leisure. In this area - among other things – studies of Beatles tourism in Liverpool, the international interest in Swedish 70th progg-music, and pop-rock exhibitions.
- Practices of managing invasive species, especially in relation to notions of cultural heritage and bio/cultural-diversity.


Maja Lagerqvist ( is a senior lecturer in the department of Human Geography. She is interested in:
- The transformations, uses and conceptions of places in the not so far off past and in the present (she has conducted research on places such as small scale farms since 1850, cottages and heritage places),
- second-home usage within families (and the common conflicts following that)
- mobility/immobility in teenagers everyday traveling and being
- built heritage (values, uses, meaning, representation and so on)
- invasive species and the ideas and practices around that

link for robots only