Photo of Stefan Jonsson

Stefan Jonsson

Professor, Head of Division

My research takes place in the nexus of social and historical processes through which identities are constituted and transformed and engage art, literature, political history and theory.

Critical Cultural Theory and Collective Identities 

Stefan Jonsson’s research is multidisciplinary with a base in critical cultural theory and aiming toward an understanding of the social and historical formation of collective identities. Originally a scholar and critic of literature, aesthetics, and intellectual history, Stefan has increasingly focused on the social and historical processes through which identities are constituted and transformed in the crossroad between the psychic and the political or the social.

Stefan Jonsson is Professor of Ethnic Studies at REMESO. He received his Ph.D. from the Program in Literature at Duke University, USA, in 1997. Between 1998 and 2000 he was a fellow in residence at Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, and in 2006 Visiting Professor at University of Michigan. He has also been associate professor of aesthetics and research leader in cultural theory at Södertörn University, Sweden. 

Together with professor Peo Hansen, Jonsson is working on a project about the colonial prehistory and legacy of the European Union; their widely acclaimed Eurafrica: The Untold History of European Integration and Colonialism was published in 2014 and was recently published in French translation (Editions La Découverte 2022).  He also conducts research on ‘the category and fantasy of ‘the masses’ and ‘the people’ in European culture, which has resulted in A Brief History of the Masses: Three Revolutions (2008) and Crowds and Democracy: The Idea and Image of the Masses from Revolution to Fascism (2013) both from Columbia University Press. This line of research continues in new projects, one on ‘monstrous events’ with a focus on collective political protest in 2011 and after, another one on the ways in which art and literature help us understand democracy, politics, migration and other collective phenomena, and a third one – in artistic research together with visual artist Anna Ådahl – on visual representations and computational simulations of collective agency. He is also involved in a European project on the consequences of digital infrastructure for our imagination of nation, belonging and boundaries.  

Stefan has written extensively on racism, multiculturalism, identity politics, postcolonial culture, and globalization. He frequently appears in Dagens Nyheter and other major Swedish media as cultural critic and commentator. Co-authored with Sven Lindqvist is his book on the documentary, and its approach to life and society as well as urgent issues such as democracy, racism and the legacies of colonialism: Sanningskonst: Samtal om ett författarskap [The Art of Truth] (Bonniers 2018). In Där historien tar slut: Makt , monster och motstånd i en delad värld [Where History Ends: Power, Monsters and Resistance in a Divided World] (Norstedts 2020) he uses film, literature and art in order to capture the colonial relation between the different parts of a broken world. This book was awarded the Albert Bonniers Essay Award. In 2022 Jonsson published Den otyglade skönheten: 5 saker vet om demokratin [Beauty Unreined: 5 Things Art Knows About Democracy](Norstedts), a research essay on the importance of art and imagination in our efforts to realize equality, democracy and social justice. 

Stefan Jonsson is Head of Division of REMESO and teaches in the doctoral and master’s programmes in Ethnic and Migration studies.


Books in selection

Cover of publication 'Sanningskonst: Samtal om ett författarskap'
Stefan Jonsson, Sven Lindqvist (2018)
Cover of publication 'Eurafrika: EU:s koloniala rötter'
Peo Hansen, Stefan Jonsson (2015)

Publications in selection


Stefan Jonsson (2023) The Aesthetics of Protest on Kyiv's Maidan: Reflections on Political Emergence and the Twenty-First-Century Crowd Social research, Vol. 90, p. 373-406 Continue to DOI
Stefan Jonsson (2023) Som en skapelseakt: Politiskt framträdande i några konstverk från den ukrainska revolutionen 2013-2014 K & K: kultur og klasse : kritik og kulturanalyse, Vol. 51, p. 311-340
Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen, Stefan Jonsson (2023) Protestens billeder: Forord K & K: kultur og klasse : kritik og kulturanalyse, Vol. 51, p. 3-14
Stefan Jonsson (2023) How to be a border, and how to cross it: What literature and art know about democracy [Plenary speech. Published online at:]
Stefan Jonsson (2023) Europas förenta stater Parabol, Vol. 1


Research projects


‘How Art and Literature Help Us Understand Democracy”, VR 2018–

‘Monstrous Events: Aesthetic Dimensions of Collective Political Protest, 2011 and after”, RJ 2018–

‘Postcolonial Settlement: Africa and the EEC in the Hour of Decolonization, 1957–1965’, (with Peo Hansen), 2017–

‘Shapes of Racism: An examination of the relation between everyday racism and racially motivated hate crime’, 2018–


‘Building Eurafrica: Reviving Colonialism through European Integration, 1920-2007’, with Peo Hansen, 2011–2015. Vetenskapsrådet. Listen to EURO-VISION: A conversation with professor Stefan Jonsson and professor Peo Hansen. 

‘European Integration and European Colonialism: Reconstructing a Historical Relation, Deconstructing a Current Historiography’, with Peo Hansen, 2007-2010. Vetenkspsrådet.

‘Cultures of the Crowd: Ideas and Images of the Masses in European History’, with initial support from the Getty Research Institute and the Humanities Laboratory, Stanford University, 1998-2010.

‘Narratives of Europe: Perspectives from its North-East Periphery’, with scholars from Södertörn University, 2011–2015. Directed by professor Johan Fornäs.

‘Austere Histories: Social Exclusion and the Erasure of Historical Memories in European Societies’; 2013–2015. (with Julia Willén).

‘Time, Memory and Representation. A Multidisciplinary Program on Transformations in Historical Consciousness’, financed by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and organized by Södertörn University, 2010-2015. 

Research on Citizenship and Ethnic Relations