For the second time in a year, we get to celebrate the PhD thesis defense of a member of the Blogal Studies team, Dr. Elizabeth Olsson, who defends her dissertation titled Constructive Conflict in Classrooms and Beyond today. In addition to being a pillar of the PhD community at the School of Global Studies and a brilliant researcher, Elizabeth is also a prolific blogger and editor, having contributed 23 posts (out of a current total of 130 posts!) on topics ranging from academic writing to American politics to the topic of her thesis, and provided key direction for the blog since a few months after it was created by Theo and Swati in May 2018. In every sense Elizabeth is a founding editor, a brilliant collaborator and the most valuable blogger for Blogal Studies. On this momentous day, Elizabeth’s fellow editorial team members would like to thank her and celebrate her accomplishments!
Elizabeth has been there at SGS longer than I have, and I was grateful for her warmth and enthusiasm ever since I joined the department in 2017. You cannot miss that infectious smile or concern filled words, indignant protests (about things that matter to us) and above all that American accent, which you don’t often hear in Sweden! She has this remarkable quality of doing all things with meticulousness and perfection, whether it is blogging, department presentations, editing or organising parties for fellow PhD mates. Truth be told, whenever there have been long periods of ‘no blogs’ in the pipeline, she has come to the rescue. It is quite amazing that she has been such a prolific blogger and yet managed to get her thesis written. Of course, I worried that the supervisors would come after us, if there were significant delays! There is such an air of reliability around Elizabeth, almost as if things will always fall into place, work will be done, thesis will write itself. ‘No worries’, as they say in Australia!
Through the blog work and exchanges I have learnt so much about this wonderful, warm, creative and most brilliant editor and proof reader! I would trust her to edit any of my texts to make it shine. Editing and proof reading are the work of art and not easily done, just because one has language skills. It requires artistry of a kind that Elizabeth has in plenty. Not to mention other aspects of her non-academic personality, putting people at ease by her care, kindness and generosity. However, you cannot talk about Elizabeth alone. Aurora + Luna = Elizabeth is a perfect equation! Haven’t we enjoyed her conversations with her two little daughters who have brought so much joy to us in those facebook posts? They are the star of this thesis, egging her along and advising her when and where it mattered! Peter and Michael (supervisors at SGS) were ably assisted by Aurora and Luna, or we would not have seen the end product so soon. Take a bow you two!
Aurora (6-years-old): Good morning, Mommy. Time to work on your thesis!
Me: No, it's not. It's Saturday.
Aurora: The faster you work on it, the faster its done.
Me: Have you been talking to my supervisors?
Aurora: Don't be silly. I am your supervisor.
(20 Feb, 2021, Facebook update).
We are so proud of our star blogger as we celebrate her doctorate today. We will cheer you as you build your career ahead as a writer and teacher, putting so much thoughtfulness and diligence into it. And Blogal Studies will always be your home that you cannot escape! Cheers. You go girl.
Elizabeth’s unwavering dedication to the blog, whether through writing or editing, and her support for the PhD community at the School of Global Studies with her tenure on the PhD council and organization of writing workshops and other events has been and inspiration for me as an academic and writer. This speaks to Elizabeth’s dedication to making academia an inclusive and mutually supportive environment, especially for early career scholars who are not always explicitly taught many of the professional skills the field requires. Without the persistence that Elizabeth has brought to these activities, Blogal Studies and the SGS PhD community would not be where they are today.
As a fellow American PhD student in Sweden, it has personally been wonderful reading Elizabeth’s posts about US politics and commiserating (and occasionally celebrating) these last few difficult years in our country. I hope the completion of her thesis will only give her more time to write new posts for us (after a well-deserved rest of course!).
Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Swati Parashar is Director of Gothenburg Centre for Globalisation and Development (GCGD) and Associate Professor in Peace and Development at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg. She tweets at @swatipash.
Dustin Johnson is a doctoral student in peace and development research at the University of Gothenburg’s School of Global Studies, with a project on gender and the practices of child protection in UN peacekeeping. You can find him on Twitter at @WarAndCoffee.