University of Wisconsin–Madison

Robert Ostergren

Title: Professor Emeritus of Geography


PhD, University of Minnesota, 1976

Research Areas

Cultural and historical geography of Europe and North America;
Place, space, architecture and ideology in Germany during the National Socialist era;
Nineteenth century European trans-Atlantic migration and settlement in North America

Current Research

Book project: Building Nazi Germany: Place, Space, Architecture and Ideology (Rowman & Littlefield)

Courses Taught

Geography 349: Geography of Europe
Geography 506: Historical Geography of European Urbanization
Geography 508: Landscape and Settlement in the North American Past
Geography 901: Seminar in Cultural Geography
Geography 903: Seminar in Historical Geography
Geography 940: Seminar in Regional Geography


Dept of Scandinavian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Recent Publications

The Europeans: A Geography of People, Culture, and Environment (2011) with Mathias Le Bossé. 2nd edition. Guilford; "Defining Liechtenstein: Sovereign borders, offshore banking, and national identity" (2009) in A.C. Diener & J. Hagen (eds.), Border lines and Borderlands: Political Oddities at the Edge of the Nation-State, Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 137-154; Wisconsin German Land and Life (2006). Edited with Heike Bungert, Cora Lee Kluge. Madison: Max Kade Institute, University of Wisconsin; "Spectacle, architecture and place at the Nuremberg Party Rallies: Projecting a Nazi vision of past, present and future." (2006) Cultural Geographies 13, 157-181; "Cross-Border Regionalism at the 'Macro' Scale: The Baltic Sea Region," (2005) in L. Hönnighausen, A. Ortlepp, J. Peacock & N. Steiner (eds.), Regionalism in the Age of Globalism: Volume 2. Forms of Regionalism. University of Wisconsin, pp. 49-75; Norden: A Thematic and Historical Geography (2002), Nordic Council: Nordic Cultural Curriculum Project (NCCP), No. 3; Wisconsin Land and Life (1997) edited with Thomas Vale. University of Wisconsin Press; The Cultural Map of Wisconsin: A Cartographic Portrait of the State (1996) University of Wisconsin Press; Patterns of Seasonal Industrial Labor Recruitment in a Nineteenth Century Swedish Parish: The Case of Matfors and Tuna, 1846-1873 (1990) The Demographic Data Base, Umea University; A Community Transplanted: The Trans-Atlantic Experience of a Swedish Immigrant Settlement in the Upper Middle West, 1835-1915. (1988) University of Wisconsin Press & Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.

Awards and Honors

Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998
Honored Instructor Award, Office of Academic Initiatives, Divsion of Housing, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2011, 2009, 2008
Outstanding Achievement Award of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ASCM) for The Cultural Map of Wisconsin, 1996

Graduate Students and Postdocs

Nick Bauch - Food and Place: Consuming Parma, Italy (MS, 2005)
Joshua Becker - Irrigation and Landscape Change in Colorado's Grand Valley, 1880-1920 (MS, 2011)
Jon Bushman - Creating a Place of National Memory: The National World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington D.C. (MS, 2006)
Todd Courtenay - Nationalizing Landscapes and Tourist Spaces: Geographies of Heritage in Nineteenth-Century Rome (MS, 2003); Roma Scavata: Archaeology and Landscape in Expatriate and Nationalist Rome. (Ph.D., 2012)
Kara Dempsey - Constructing Contemporary European Regional Identities: Spanish Galicia's "Cidade da Cultura" (MS, 2006); Galicia's Hurricane: The Politics of Regional Representation and Place Branding (Ph.D., 2011)
Amanda Kolpin - Norske I Kaskeland: The Norwegians in Koshkonong. An Exploratory Study of Bounded Spaces in a Rural Ethnic Settlement (MS, 2005); Placing Literature: Vilhelm Moberg's "The Emigrants" and the Geography of Identity in One Midwest Town (Ph.D., 2011)
Matthew Liesch - Early Days on the Gogebic Iron Range: Reputation, Riches, and Rowdiness, 1884-1890 (MS, 2006); Community Conceptions of Keweenaw National Historical Park (Ph.D., 2011)
Jonathan Munetz - Between Place: Food Consumption and Spaces of Inclusion and Exclusion in Montpellier, France (MS, 2011)
Chad Rathman - Site of Heritage-Site of Consumption: "Up North" in Brainerd, Minnesota (MS, 2005) Noel Rivera - Al Andalus as a Space of Coexistence: An Eventual Imaginative Geography (MS, 2009)
David Waskowski - From Soviet Union to European Union: A Study of Urban Change, Regional Integration, and Cultural Identity in Riga, Latvia (MS, 2006)
Katie Wirka -Jachymov: Heaven or Hell? Contrasting historical narratives about Jachymov, Czech Republic and its radioactive elements (MS 2011)
Yong Yu - Geographical Imagination, Representation and Landscape: Changing Images of Beijing from the Yang Dynasty to the 21st Century (Ph.D. candidate)

Other Activities

Advisory Board, Geografiska Annaler, Series B, Human Geography
College Board, AP Human Geography Development Committee

Contact Information

Office Hours: MW 3:45-4:30

Mailing Address:

Department of Geography
University of Wisconsin-Madison
550 North Park Street
Madison, WI 53706 USA

Phone: (608) 262-2138

Fax: 6082653991