Anna Peterson

Anna Peterson portrait
Associate Professor of History

Office: Koren 202

Phone: 563-387-1155



Education: Ph.D., History, Ohio State University; M.A., History, University of North Dakota; B.A., Scandinavian Studies, Concordia College

Anna M. Peterson researches and teaches within the fields of immigration history, women’s and gender history, social history, and indigenous history with a geographic focus on Europe, Scandinavia, Norway, and the U.S. Her current research project sits at the nexus of immigration and indigenous history and explores the topics of gender, education, and ethnicity at the Norwegian-American-run Bethany Indian Mission outside Wittenberg, Wisconsin.

Peterson currently serves as editor for the Norwegian-American Historical Association, overseeing its robust journal and book publications program.

She has won numerous awards and fellowships for her work, including the Nena Amundson Distinguished Professorship (2018-2020), and the Norwegian Historical Association’s award for most innovative contribution to its journal, Historisk tidsskrift (2016).

A specialist in modern Norwegian history, Peterson has spent considerable time researching and teaching in Norway. Most recently she participated in an academic exchange with a Norwegian historian in which she taught his courses at University of Southeastern Norway and he taught her courses at Luther (Spring 2020).

She maintains an active presence in the local and regional birth communities, where she practices as a doula and co-leads the Decorah Breastfeeding Support Group.

On Rafts and Skis

Professor Peterson Gives an Inside Look at an On-Campus J-Term Course

Hist 126: Human Geography

Hist 150: Europe, 1648-Present

Hist 185: On Skis and Rafts: Norwegian Exploration and the Making of a National Identity Hist 239: Arctic Exploration and Exploitation

Hist 239: From Muscle to Machine: Industrialization and its Effects

Hist 239: A Global History of World War Two (team taught with Edward Tebbenhoff and Brian Caton) Hist 239: Comparative European Welfare States

Hist 248: The Viking Age: Then and Now (co-taught with Robert Christman)

Hist 254: Russian History

Hist 256: Scandinavian Immigration History

Hist 299: History and Memory of the Holocaust (Study Away)

Hist 351: The Holocaust

Hist 485: Modern History of the Family

FCUL 139: History and Culture of Denmark and Norway

PAID 111: Paideia 111 (first-year seminar course, first semester) 

PAID 112: Paideia 112 (first-year seminar course, second semester)

  • Ph.D., Ohio State University
  • M.A., University of North Dakota
  • B.A., Concordia College (Moorhead)


Maternity Policy and the Making of the Norwegian Welfare State, 1880-1940. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

“A Nation of Immigrants: A History of American Immigration and Identity” in Modern America: Developments in Contemporary American Society edited by Sean Taylor and Jan Erik Mustad. Gyldendal Academic Press, 2017.

“’Et skjærende misforhold mellom lovens hensikt og dens virkninger:’ Single Mothers and Midwives Respond to the Castberg Laws, 1916-1940, Historisk tidsskrift, vol. 94, no. 2, 2015. (Published in English). Winner of the Norwegian Historical Association’s Award for the Most Innovative Contribution to the Journal, 2016.

“Maternity and the Castberg Children’s Rights Laws: Legislative Framing and Outcomes, 1900- 1915,” Tidsskrift for velferdsforskning, no. 4, 2015. (Published in Norwegian: “Maternitet og de castbergske barnelover”)

“Making Women’s Suffrage Support an Ethnic Duty: Norwegian-American Cultural Arguments for a Progressive Identity and the American Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1880 – 1925,” Journal of American Ethnic History, June 2011.

“Adding ‘a Little Suffrage Spice to the Melting Pot’: Minnesota’s Scandinavian Woman’s Suffrage Association,” Minnesota History, Winter 2011/2012.

Non-Peer Reviewed Articles

“Education and the Ho-Chunk: Resistance and Resilience,” Agora: The Liberal Arts at Luther College, Spring 2020.

“The Beauty of Brokenness,” Agora: The Liberal Arts at Luther College, Spring 2019.

“Historical Networks and Identity Formation: Digital Representation of Statistical and Geo-Data: Case Study of Norwegian Migration to the USA (1870-1920)”.Co-Authored with Jana Sverdljuk, Lars Jynge Alvik. In Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries. Conference proceedings, 3rd Nordic Digital Humanities Conference. Helsinki, March 2018.

“’Catastrophe this Way:’ Ben Blessum’s Satirical Critique of Norway and the First World War,” Co-authored with Luther College student, Race Fisher, Vesterheim Magazine. December 2017.

“Narrating Change: Norwegian Women’s Abortion Letters,” Agora: The Liberal Arts at Luther College, Fall 2015.

““A New Norway’?: Ole Bull and the Oleana Colony,” Vesterheim Magazine. December 2015.

“How to Write a Constitution in (less than) Five Weeks: The Fateful Events of Spring 1814,” Agora: The Liberal Arts at Luther College, Fall 2014.

“From Commonplace to Controversial: The Different Histories of Abortion in Europe and the United States,” Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective, October 15, 2012.

Professor Peterson is currently researching the formation of maternity policies in Norway at the turn of the twentieth century.