PhD Associate Professor
Wallenberg Academy Fellow

Amanda Lagerkvist is Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies and Wallenberg Academy Fellow at Stockholm University. Within her research program “Existential Terrains: Memory and Meaning in Cultures of Connectivity” funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation (2014-2018) she is currently conducting research on the existential and experiential dimensions of digitalization, with a specific focus on digital memory cultures.

Amanda Lagerkvist’s contributions to the field of cultural studies have expanded the field of Media and Communication Studies. Her qualitative research interests intersect several areas: media memory studies, media and religion, the phenomenology of media, media space, mobilities, urban theory, and American Studies. Based in the humanities tradition of media studies, her work is guided by and develops an overarching sociophenomenological approach to media (focusing on how media technology relates to lived experience), inspired by the new materialism, and discourse on embodiment in cultural theory. Recently, she has also launched a ‘performance turn’ in media memory studies. Her latest book is the monograph Media and Memory in New Shanghai: Western Performances of Futures Past, which was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013. She is co-editor of Strange Spaces: Explorations into Mediated Obscurity, published by Ashgate in 2009. Between 2010-2013 she worked in a project financed by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, entitled “The Times of Television”, in which she conducted a study on anniversary journalism and the televisual memory of 9.11 in Sweden.

Research

Amanda Lagerkvist is Wallenberg Academy Fellow 2013. The fellowship program is financed by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (2014-2018). As Fellow Lagerkvist leads the project “Existential Terrains: Memory and Meaning in Cultures of Connectivity”, and a transdisciplinary network on digital media and existential issues (DIGMEX). As Wallenberg Academy Fellow she is, additionally, enrolled into a mentorship program created by the five Academies, and run by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA) and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA).

Focusing on digital memory cultures, Lagerkvist’s project explores the existential dimensions of digitalisation. The project combines analyses of the formal, textual and visual characteristics of digital memory forms (in studies of digital memorials, portable archives and services where the self may be saved for posterity), with netnography and qualitative in-depth interviews with media users of different ages in contemporary Sweden. The objective is to gain detailed knowledge about how fundamental existential issues are pursued, when people’s lives and memories are increasingly shaped in, by and through the digital media forms. In addition to the more well-researched traits of digital media, this project contends that users explicitly or implicitly employ them as existential terrains: as private and/or public spaces for individual and collective commemoration and grief, and for creating and archiving the self. Combining perspectives from existentialist philosophy, with the study of media and religion and with theoretical debates on digital memory cultures, the project sets out to explore how “existential security” (Lagerkvist 2013) is sought, achieved or lost in our era of hyper connectivity, temporal instantaneity and an accelerated evaporation between the public and the private.

In 2013 Lagerkvist finished the project ”The Times of Television”, headed by Dr. Staffan Ericson, Södertörn University, and with Dr. Paul Achter, The University of Richmond, financed by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (2010-2013). The project explored how television tells ‘history’ in a transnational context. Her study dealt with anniversary journalism and the existential dimensions of the televisual commemoration of 9.11 in Sweden.

In her postdoctoral project she developed a sociophenomenological perspective on media, space and memory. In the project "City of the Future: Time, Mediation and Multisensuous Immersion in the Future City of Shanghai" financed by the Foundation of Anna Ahlström & Ellen Terserus (JMK, Stockholm University 2005-2007), she probed the relationship between memory and futurity in this rapidly globalizing space, as well as how Western visitors engage the spatial story and memory of Shanghai through embodied and mediatized performativity in the city. Within a research fellowship for the project “A Virtual America: Americans and American Spaces in New Shanghai”, at the Swedish Institute for North American Studies (SINAS), financed by the Faculty of Languages at Uppsala University (2007-2010) she focused on American expatriate spaces and mobilities in New Shanghai. The principal outcome of the two projects is the monograph Media and Memory in New Shanghai: Western Performances of Futures Past, (Basingstoke:  Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies, 2013).

Lagerkvist received her PhD in Media and Communication Studies from Stockholm University (2005). In her doctoral dissertation Amerikafantasier: Kön, medier och visualitet i svenska reseskildringar från USA 1945-63 (Imaginary America: Gender, Media and Visuality in Swedish Postwar Travelogues), Lagerkvist explored the Swedish relationship to the United States in the post-war era. Probing the hermeneutic circle of traveling she placed Swedish travel writing from the US within a cultural history of the media, and analysed the ambivalences stirred by the physical encounter with the many faces of the mediated nation.

Lagerkvist has a broad international network. She has extensive contacts in the field of media memory studies, with for example Professor Andrew Hoskins, University of Glasgow, founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal of Memory Studies and working on memory and risk, and Professor Anna Reading, Kings College London who is an expert on digital methodologies, gender, mobile witnessing and memory. She is also collaborating with Dr. Amit Pinchevski, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who is working with scholars at Humboldt University in Berlin, in the project Archiving Presence: From Analog to Digital. In Sweden she has connections to the national research program Time, Memory, Representation funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (2010-2016), headed by Professor Hans Ruin, the Section of Philosophy, Södertörn University. Her network also comprises leading scholars in the field of media and religion, including Professor Mia Lövheim, Uppsala University Religion and Society Research Centre (CRS). She is a member of the Nordic Network for the Study of Media and Religion, of the international network Death Online Research and the Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture. Future research plans include a comparative study of the mediated publicness of grief in the late modern Nordic context.

Selected publications

Monographs and edited books

(2013) Media and Memory in New Shanghai: Western Performances of Futures Past, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

(2009) (co.ed with A. Jansson) Strange Spaces: Explorations into Mediated Obscurity, Farnham: Ashgate.

Peer-reviewed articles published in indexed international journals

(in review) ”Digital Throwness: Towards and Existential Approach to the Culture of Connectivity”.

(2014) ”The Netlore of the Infinite: Death (and Beyond) in the Digital Memory Ecology”, New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, Onlinefirst December 10, 2014.http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13614568.2014.983563

(2014) ”A Quest for Communitas: Rethinking Mediated Collective Memory Existentially”, Nordicom Review Special Issue, 35, 2014, pp 205-218.

(2013) ”New Memory Cultures and Death: Existential Security in The Digital Memory Ecology ”, Thanatos, Vol 2(2), December 2013.

(2013) “Communicating the Rhythms of Retromodernity: Confused and Mixed Shanghai,” The Sociological Review, September 2013.

(2012) “9.11 in Sweden: Commemoration at Electronic Sites of Memory”, Television and New Media. OnlineFirst, September 14, 2012.

(2010) “The Future is Here: Media, Memory and Futurity in Shanghai”, Space & Culture, August 13(3).

(2009) with A. Jansson: “The Future Gaze: City Panoramas as Politico-Emotive Geographies” Journal of Visual Culture, 8(1).

(2008) “Travels in Thirdspace: Experiential Suspense in Mediaspace – the Case of America (un)known”, European Journal of Communication, 23(3).

(2007) ”Gazing at Pudong—’With a Drink in Your Hand’: Time Travel, Mediation, and Multisensuous Immersion in the Future City of Shanghai”, Senses and Society, 3(2).