15 July 2006

Lovoll's new book, 2006

Professor emeritus Odd Lovoll's most recent book on the Norwegian immigrant experience, Norwegians on the Prairie: Ethnicity and the Development of the Country Town, will be available in early August.

Below is a synopsis of the book from Amazon.com:

"Against the broad backdrop of the expanding western frontier, noted Norwegian American scholar Odd S. Lovoll explores the country town through the lens of ethnicity in this pioneering study. Benson, Madison, and Starbuck, all located on the western Minnesota prairie, were settled primarily by Norwegians and served as urban centers—railroad hubs, destinations for trade, and social nexuses—for the farming communities that surround them. Lovoll’s meticulous research into census data, careful reading of local newspapers, and extensive interviews with the descendants of Norwegian immigrants reveals strong ties to homeland that are visible today in each town’s social, political, and religious character."

In a recent story in the Star Tribune, Lovoll uses the Norwegian immigrant experience to shed light on the lives of current immigrant groups in Minnesota.

Lovoll said that the town of Starbuck provides "an extreme example of the strategy immigrants had -- to settle close to each other and help each other through preservation of traditions."

"Now Mexican-Americans are criticized for this," he said. "We are a nation of immigrants. We should never forget that."

The challenge, Lovoll said, "is how do we teach them English yet let them know their culture is good? They need to have pride in who they are, as the Norwegians and other early immigrant groups did."