Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1996

M.A., University of Minnesota, 1991

B.A., Boston University, 1987


John C. Swanson joined the UTC Department of History in August 2012 after teaching at Utica College in New York state. His research specialties are modern Central and Eastern European history, nationalism and ethnic identity, minorities, Holocaust studies, and historical representation on film. Dr. Swanson recently published Tangible Belonging: Negotiating Germanness in Twentieth-Century Hungary (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017), which won the Barbara Jelavich Book Prize in 2018. His new research project concerning the Auschwitz Album, Lili Jacob (the woman who found the album), and the community of Bilky, Ukraine, has been supported by a Fulbright Global Scholar Award, the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe in Leipzig, Germany, as well as other international foundations.

In addition to his work as a historian, Professor Swanson is an accomplished documentary filmmaker. His film About a Village, which explores questions of lost childhood, Heimat, and nostalgia for current and former members of the Hungarian village of Máriakéménd, has been screened at film festivals in London, Montreal, Los Angeles, and New York. He has also directed and produced films about Holocaust education and about music, some of which have been awarded prizes at international film festivals.


Under  Hitler's Shadow: Europe 1929-1945

The Holocaust: Perpetrators, Victims, and Bystanders

Minorities in Twentieth-Century Europe: Jews, Germans, and Roma

Nationalism and Ethnic Identity in Europe 


Dr. Swanson has received grants from the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Fulbright-Hays, IREX, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Fulbright, European Institute Budapest, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Rotary International.

Publication Highlights

Tangible Belonging: Negotiating Germanness in Twentieth Century Hungary. (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017).

“Thinking Historically: The Holocaust Study Tour,” in Critical Holocaust Education in a Time of Transition, for edited book, edited by Helga Thorson. Forthcoming.

“The State arrives in Hungarian Villages: Magyarization and the Making of Minorities at the Village Level,” in Kooperatives Imperium: Politische Zusammenarbeit in der späten Habsburgermonarchie, edited by Jana Osterkamp. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2018), 285-296.

“Being German: German-Speaking Villagers in Hungary Discover Germany” in Nationalsozialismus und Regionalbewusstsein im östlichen Europa [National Socialism and Regional Awareness in Eastern Europe: Ideology, Power Struggle, and Inertia], edited by Burkhard Olschowsky and Ingo Loose. (Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2016), 47-61.

About a Village. Documentary Film. 2013.

“Nation, Volk, Minderheit, Volksgruppe: Die deutsche Minderheit in Ungarn in den Begriffskämpfen der Zwischenkriegsära.” Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung, 55 (2006): 526–547.

The Remnants of the Habsburg Monarchy: The Shaping of Modern Austria and Hungary, 1918–1922. (Boulder, Colorado: East European Monographs, distributed by Columbia University Press, 2001).


American Historical Association

Society for Austrian and Habsburg History

Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies

Hungarian Studies Association