Jonas Harvard


Jonas Harvard – Media historian

Associate professor, History
Adjunct Professor in the History of Political Discourse and Communication


I am a professor in media- and communication science at the centre Demicom, and teach at the Journalism programme. Currently I am involved in a project on the role of the aerial perspective in climate communication, with a particular focus on representations of Nordic landscapes.

My colleague Mats Hyvönen from Uppsala University and I are studying the interaction between the aspects of distance and presence in aerial photography. On the one hand aerial views can provide a sense of larger context and understanding of environmental issues. On the other, there is a risk that aerial views contribute to a sense of remoteness, due to the distance from the subject and the often abstract nature of the shots. The prevalence of Nordic/arctic imagery in climate reporting can also reinforce the impression that climate change is happening “elsewhere”. The increasing use of satellite imagery and maps by the media in climate reporting, as well as the development of camera-equipped drones, which has made the aerial perspective more easily accessible to photographers, provide important backgrounds for this project.

The study builds on our previous work on the subject of aerial views in communication. In 2019 we organized an international conference on the role of media technology and the use of drones in journalism: "Journalism from Above: Drones and the Media in Critical Perspective". The conference was funded by a grant from the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (DnrF19-1048). After the conference a special issue of the journal Media & Communication was published in 2020, on the topic of drones in journalism.

My previous research has concerned public opinion and I participated in a large scale Nordic research programme where my sub-project dealt with the history of communication in the Nordic region.

My doctoral thesis (2006) investigated the role of the concept public opinion within the Swedish parliament, 1848–1919. My research has mainly concerned various fields of communication history: Media structures, media technologies, politics, parliamentarism and the public sphere, communicative concepts and opinion formation.

Between 2010–2012 I coordinated the 40+ scholar international research programme Nordic Spaces, at the Centre for East European and Baltic Studies, Södertörn University College. In 2012 I was awarded the title of docent (associate professor) in history at Mid Sweden University. In 2013 I was accepted as Adjunct Professor in the History of Political Discourse and Communication (in General history), at Jyväskylä University.

Area of interest

Nordic Media History, Aerial photojournalism, Media Technologies, Media and politics Opinion Formation, History of Concepts

Teaching and tutoring

I currently teach at the Journalism programme. In 2017 I was awarded the pedagocical prize for teacher of the year at the university, with a special motivation from the Student Union at Mid Sweden University. I have previously been an instructor in History at Mid Sweden University. I have also been a guest lecturer at Columbia University, Jyväskylä University, and Universidad de Cantabria .

Other information

I have participated in leadership education at KTH/Södertörn, London School of Economics and Political Science and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Extra contact information


Monographs and edited volumes: