Glenn Kranking ’98Alumni and Faculty

Associate Professor in History, Scandinavian Studies, and Russian

Glenn Kranking is a historian of the Baltic Sea Region (Scandinavia/Baltic States/Russia) and Modern Europe, and is on his fifteenth year of teaching at Gustavus as a member of the History and Scandinavian Studies departments. He has served as the Director of the Russian and East European Studies program, and is currently the chair of the Scandinavian Studies Department.

As a Gustavus graduate (Honors History and Scandinavian Studies), Glenn is thrilled to be at Gustavus and teach the next generation of Gusties. He holds a Masters Degree in Scandinavian Area Studies from the University of Washington, a Masters Degree in Contemporary History from the University of Tartu in Estonia, and a doctorate in history (focused on Russian/Soviet, Scandinavian, and Modern European history) from The Ohio State University. He has lived, studied, and researched extensively in Sweden, Estonia, Finland, and Russia. Glenn is a former member of the executive board for the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study and former president for the Society for Historians of Scandinavia.

Glenn teaches courses on early and modern Nordic history, Imperial Russian and Soviet history (including a film component), minorities in Europe, propaganda in the modern world, and survey courses on modern Europe and modern world history. Previous courses included the Three Crowns Curriculum course on Historical Perspectives, and specialized courses on digital history, disaster films, and movie musicals. Glenn has taught companion courses for the Gustavus Wind Orchestra for two international tours: Sweden/Norway (2018) and Spain/France (2023). He also taught a First Term Seminar course on the theme of Nordic Explorers. Glenn was the faculty adviser for The Gustavian Weekly and the Swedish House, served as the Director of the MAYDAY! Peace Conference from 2019-2022, and is occasionally called upon to give presentations on the history of Gustavus Adolphus College.

Gustavus has worked to advance the digital humanities on campus, and Glenn regularly attempts to digitally inflect his pedagogy and assignments for many of his courses. An example of this can be seen in his course on Propaganda in the Modern World, which works on the website We Want You, which a number of his other courses have also contributed to. Drawing on his course on digital history, Glenn served as a campus co-facilitator for an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant (2015-2018) focused on increasing the digital humanities through January-term courses.

Glenn's most recent research focuses on the Swedish minority that lived in Estonia (also referred to as the Estonian-Swedes), and the development of their community and culture (particularly as it related to connections with their homeland) through numerous types of governments from the 1860s until the end of the Second World War when most of the population fled to Sweden. He is particularly interested more broadly in the role of minority populations and minority rights in Europe. A significant portion of his research was funded by the American Swedish Institute and the American-Scandinavian Foundation. One of Glenn's recent publications is a history of Kustbon, the Estonian-Swedish community's newspaper, in celebration of the paper's centennial (2018, published in Swedish). He also contributed to a book project with the Estonian-Swedish cultural organization in Sweden, published in Fall 2010, based on some of his research. He is currently working on a book manuscript about this population during the Second World War, as the region passed from independence to occupation under first the Soviet Union and then Nazi Germany, and back to Soviet occupation. During that time, the majority of the Estonian-Swedish population fled to Sweden.

Other research projects in the works include researching interactions across northern Europe, Nordic polar explorers, and a larger work on travelogues written by Swedes traveling in Russia. He would also like to write an introductory textbook on minorities in Europe.

In his spare time Glenn enjoys singing, photography, traveling, home improvement, gardening, and watching movies. Since 2014, Glenn has also served as a Study Leader/Expert for Smithsonian Journeys (a travel program connected to the Smithsonian Institute) on tours through Scandinavia, around the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, and the Rhine River Valley.


B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College; M.A. University of Washington; M.A. University of Tartu (Estonia); Ph.D. Ohio State University

Courses Taught

HIS-212 (Rise & Fall of USSR), HIS-212 (Rise/Fall USSR Film Lab), HIS-218 (Scandinavia to 1800), SCA-391 (IS: Scand Reformation), and SCA-399 (Sr Research Colloquium)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
HIS-218 Scandinavia to 1800 11 2022/S1, 2021/JN, 2020/FA, 2019/FA, 2018/FA, 2017/FA, 2015/FA, 2013/FA, 2011/FA, and 2009/FA
CUR-110 Historical Perspective II 9 2015/SP, 2014/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/SP, and 2010/SP
HIS-219 Scandinavia Since 1800 7 2023/FA, 2021/FA, 2018/FA, 2016/FA, 2014/SP, 2012/SP, and 2010/SP
HIS-211 Imperial Russia 7 2023/FA, 2022/SP, 2020/SP, 2018/SP, 2014/FA, 2012/FA, and 2010/FA
HIS-120 Europe 1648-Present 7 2021/SP, 2020/SP, 2017/SP, 2015/FA, 2014/SP, and 2013/SP
HIS-212 Rise & Fall of USSR 5 2021/SP, 2019/SP, 2017/SP, 2015/SP, and 2013/SP
HIS-323 European Minorities 5 2019/FA, 2017/FA, 2015/FA, 2013/FA, and 2011/FA
HIS-212 Rise/Fall USSR Lab 4 2021/SP, 2019/SP, 2017/SP, and 2015/SP
FTS-100 FTS:Nordic Explorers 4 2018/FA, 2014/FA, 2012/FA, and 2011/FA
HIS-217 Digital History 4 2017/JN, 2014/JN, 2011/JN, and 2010/JN
HIS-303 Modern Propaganda 3 2023/FA, 2018/FA, and 2016/FA
MUS-165 Orchestra: Spain and France 3 2023/JN, 2022/JN, and 2018/JN
HIS-300 Research Seminar 3 2021/SP, 2019/FA, and 2014/FA
CUR-115 Understanding the Past 2 2022/SP
HIS-321 19th Century Europe 2 2012/FA and 2011/SP
HIS-110 Modern Europe I, 1400–1815 2 2010/FA
SCA-399 Sr Research Colloquium 1 2022/SP
HIS-200 History Seminar 1 2019/SP
HIS-203 Disaster Film 1 2019/JN
HIS-105 World History 1 2018/SP
HIS-344 Special Topic: European Nationalism 1 2009/FA