As of today, I'm an employee of the Royal Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, founded in 1753 by Queen Lovisa Ulrika. The Academy has about 130 full members, most of them professors in the humanities and social sciences. The organisation is self-funded through old donations and acts independently of the state apparatus.
The Academy's premises is a patrician townhouse built in the 19th century. It's located in a quiet Stockholm street near the Humlegården park in which the Royal Library is sited. The house was once the abode of the Rettig family, wealthy tobacco industrialists and shipowners. It still retains the opulent furnishings collected by the Rettigs with additional goodies amassed by the Academy itself through the centuries. Above my desk, for instance, hangs a portrait of disponent Daniel Engelke, Norrköping, painted in 1924 by Asta Holmberg. I like his mustache and the intent way he's reading Norrköpings Tidningar. Good way to pass the time when sitting for a portrait.
Behind my back at the office is an outrageous tiled stove in an unusually gaudy version of the Empire style: pink, blue and gold, topped by a really gay-looking eagle.
At the moment I have three tasks at the Academy, though I hope to make myself useful in more ways.
- Organise a seminar in March to further the continued use of the Medieval parish as the basic territorial unit in taxation and census records. Modern territorial units have an unfortunate tendency to change every few decades, which creates endless problems for anyone doing longitudinal historical research. Better to keep a system that has been used for centuries. It's just a way of organising geographical information, which is arbitrary anyway from a cost and database design perspective.
- Continue to edit the journal Fornvännen (on archaeology and Medieval art) as I have done since 1999.
- Edit a proceedings volume on Fornvännen's centenary symposium last spring, on the future of the scholarly journal. One good paper by Jan Hagerlid, about Open Access publishing, is already on-line.
[More blog entries about career, phd, Sweden; karriär, doktorera, Stockholm.]