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Exchanging Perspectives


Maynard-Knox Professor of Government and Law Frank Anechiarico is gaining a different perspective this year by swapping his classroom on College Hill with one in Sweden. Anechiarico and Visiting Assistant Professor of Government Jonas Brodin, a faculty member of The Swedish Program at the Stockholm School of Economics, have exchanged roles, with Brodin teaching courses in public policy at Hamilton and Anechiarico teaching comparative policy and justice studies in Stockholm.

Ken Wagner, a former member of the Hamilton Sociology Department, started the Swedish Program in 1987 and maintained a relationship over the years with Anechiarico, who has served as Hamilton's liaison to the program. “The [Swedish] program’s public policy professor, Jonas Brodin, and his family were interested in spending a year in the U.S.,” Anechiarico said. “During Ken’s visit to Hamilton last fall, he asked if I’d be interested in switching — jobs, houses, and cars — with Jonas.”

From this conversation came the exchange program, which will last the duration of the 2019-20 academic year. Both Anechiarico and Brodin said that they have a lot to learn from the experience, including the differences in institutions of higher education between the U.S. and Sweden.

“Higher education in Europe is much more vocational,” explained Brodin, who received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at American universities. “It’s a difference of training people directly [in Europe], and, in the U.S., teaching people to train themselves.” 

Brodin also sees his comparative perspective and background as an empirical political theorist as a source of value for the students he’ll teach at Hamilton. “Even if you study a place, it’s very different learning about a place from afar versus having a firsthand source.”

Meanwhile, though Anechiarico is in a new locale, he says, “Most of my students are from NESCAC colleges, [so] we are familiar with each other’s styles and viewpoints. But we’re in a new and very interesting setting, so we have a lot of questions about the way things are done in Sweden. I’m sure I’m learning as much as they are.”

When asked what they each hoped to gain personally from the experience, Brodin noted that experiencing how classroom culture differs in the U.S. from that in Sweden is appealing to him. “I look forward to learning more about the environment of the students that come for the abroad program,” he said.

Anechiarico described how a research project he is undertaking with Professor Staffan Andersson from Linnaeus University and Professor Lydia Segal from Suffolk University is made easier by his residency in Stockholm.

“Being here allows me to work with Staffan more easily as we begin our work,” Anechiarico said. “Otherwise, I’m enjoying life in a big city. There’s a lot of great music here — the Royal Opera and Stockholm Philharmonic are terrific. And then there’s the herring — highly recommended!”

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