Maria Ågren
Professor i historia

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I am professor of history with a special interest in the early modern period in Sweden and elsewhere. I am also very interested in the uses of language and in research methods.


My research interests are situated at the intersection of social history, economic history and legal history. I am interested in the role of gender at this intersection: how gender has been inscribed in laws and institutions in the past, and what the social and economic effects have been. Particularly relevant in this context is my recent monograph on married women's property rights Domestic Secrets. Women and property in Sweden c. 1600 to 1857 (University of North Carolina Press 2009).

I am the leader of the research project "Gender and Work in Sweden in the period 1550 to 1800". The project, which started in January 2010 and will be completed in December 2014, was made possible when Knut och Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse (the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation) appointed me Wallenberg Scholar. An important part of the project is the development of the database GaW. See The GaW project will continue until 2021 thanks to a prolongation of the Wallenberg Scholar grant 2016.

Among my earlier work are Jord och gäld. Social skiktning och rättslig konflikt i södra Dalarna ca 1650-1850 (diss. 1992) and Att hävda sin rätt. Synen på jordägandet i 1600-talets Sverige, speglad i institutet urminnes hävd (1997). I am also the editor of Ironmaking Societies. Early Industrial Development in Sweden and Russia, 1600-1900 (Berghahn Books 1998), Hans och Hennes. Genus och egendom i Sverige från vikingatid till nutid (2003), with Amy L. Erickson, The Marital Economy in Scandinavia and Britain 1400-1900 (Ashgate 2005), and with Benny Jacobsson, Levebröd. Vad vet vi om tidigmodern könsarbetsdelning? (2011).

I am the editor of the GaW project publication Making a Living, Making a Difference: Gender and Work in Early Modern Society (Oxford University Press 2017). Forthcoming is The State as Master: gender and work in an urban context, 1650 to 1780 (Manchester University Press 2017).

I am interested in how Swedish research in the humanities can be disseminated more broadly in the world. For this reason, I am committed to developing academic writing in English (with Thomas Lavelle).

I was the Swedish representative in the European Science Foundation, Standing Committee for the Humanities (2007-2010) and am particularly engaged in the Infrastructure for Humanities Expert Group. We have produced the Science Policy Briefing Research Infrastructures in the Digital Humanities (2011; ISBN 978-2-918428-50-3). I have recently joined the board of Centrum för Bildanalys (Centre for Image Analysis) and have also been on the board of the Demographic Database, Umeå University and Centrala Etikprövningsnämnden. I am currently vice-dean for the Historical-Philosophical faculty, with a special responsibility for recruitment.

I am involved in the Early Modern Studies MA-programme, run by the Department of History since autumn 2010.

I have supervised 17 PhD students to completion of their doctorates. At present I supervise three PhD students.

I welcome research students interested in early modern social history, particularly in the fields gender and property, and gender and work. Even if my own field of expertise is mainly in Swedish/Scandinavian history, I have an interest in European and non-European history as well.


Historiska institutionen | Thunbergsvägen 3A | Box 628, 751 26 Uppsala | telefon 018 471 1526 | fax 018 471 1528 | e-post info at

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