Letters from Greenland was part of a series of 'letters' or updates about the COVID-19 situation ... Læs mere
Letters from Greenland was part of a series of 'letters' or updates about the COVID-19 situation in the Nordic countries in 2020. Fellow authors were Andrew Newby (Finland), Peter de Souza (Sweden – works in Norway), Henrik Halkier (Denmark), Rebecca Stirzaker (Norway), Elisabeth Holm (Faroe Islands) and Ingibjorg Agustsdottir (Iceland). During the 'corona year' 2020 the updates were collected and shared regularly via the Facebook group Nordic Horizons. Nordic Horizons is an informal group of Scottish professionals who want to raise the standard of knowledge and debate about life and policy in the Nordic nations. The group facebook page has 2.900 followers and acts as a repository for information, presentations, digital media of the meetings of the group and posts of members. See www.nordichorizons.org for more details.
The study of memory cultures often foregrounds the recovery of denied historical truths, with the ... Læs mere
The study of memory cultures often foregrounds the recovery of denied historical truths, with the recognition that social and cultural norms not only shape canonical versions of the past, but continue to be complicit in legitimised forms of forgetting and erasure. This article investigates the intersections between personal archives and other forms of cultural expression in acts of collective memoralization and forgetting. Using the personal archives of Josephine Diebitsch-Peary, the research introduces the concept of coloniality to studying Arctic memory cultures by examining the role of gender in the context of Arctic exploration. The article concludes that an understanding of the coloniality of knowledge and its connections to epistemic violence is crucial to the study of memory and historical legacy in the Arctic.
The Nordic Studies Online as a part of the digi-loikka project aims to create a digital learning ... Læs mere
The Nordic Studies Online as a part of the digi-loikka project aims to create a digital learning platform about the Nordics. This project is a joint-initiative of several scholars from the University of Helsinki (Department of Cultures/Centre for Nordic Studies), University of Gdansk (Scandinavian Studies) and Aarhus University (Department of History), and also cooperates with the ReNEW research hub and with the online platform, nordics.info.
Blok P makes a great read for people that want to know about more than polar bears and the meltin ... Læs mere
Blok P makes a great read for people that want to know about more than polar bears and the melting ice cap when it comes to Greenland. The book includes many positive and life affirming messages to those of us that think living in 1960s housing, in any country, was pure torture. The memories collected for this project are both nostalgic and happy - about things such as running water, having a bathtub, forming new friendships and communities and having access to Nuuk’s shops and pubs. On the more serious side, the book is a useful reflection on the role of architecture in the historical and ongoing physical and social violence of Nordic colonialism. But, most of all, the book is an essential reminder about the most important part of the Arctic - the people – and how they actively and continuously adapt and reimagine their worlds. With or without polar bears.
This article is dedicated to the complex web of gender and colonial relationships in biographical ... Læs mere
This article is dedicated to the complex web of gender and colonial relationships in biographical writing. The author's main focus is on publications by two women of high society who traveled through the colonial North in the early 20th century, Danish Emilie Demant-Hatt (1873-1958) and Scottish Isobel Wylie Hutchison (1889-1982). An analysis of these textual and visual works allows us to see how they made a contribution to the colonial project, while undermining it at the same time, and how colonial femininity combines obedience and disobedience.
The new research project "The Art of Nordic Colonialism: Writing Transcultural Histories", is fun ... Læs mere
The new research project "The Art of Nordic Colonialism: Writing Transcultural Histories", is funded by the Danish Carlsberg Foundation, and brings together researchers, curators, and artists working on art and visual culture related to Nordic colonial projects in the Caribbean, West Africa, India, Greenland, Iceland, and Sápmi. Organised by the Nuuk Art Museum and hosted by Department of Cultural and Social History at the University of Greenland, the research group held a public one-day conference at the University of Greenland during “Nuuk Nordisk Kulturfestival” 2019.
Artists took actively part in imperialist projects from the 17th century and onwards, either as participants in colonial expeditions, as »tourists« and travelers, or as onlookers from home. At the same time, colonized subjects used aesthetic practices in their resistance to colonial rule. The conference inaugurated a collective examination and discussion of the role colonialism has had on the creation and reception of art and art histories across the Nordic countries and their former colonies from the 1600s up until the present. Responding to three artworks from the Nuuk Art Museum's collection, first and second year students from the Department of Cultural and Social History presented individual "think pieces" on the connections between visual art and colonial history in Greenland to an international audience.
This paper investigates the cultural-historical processes that connect early twentieth century Ar ... Læs mere
This paper investigates the cultural-historical processes that connect early twentieth century Arctic colonial histories with experiences of coloniality. Ada Blackjack was the only survivor of an expedition that travelled to Wrangel Island in September 1921. An Inupiat from Nome, Blackjack had joined four Anglo-European men recruited by the Canadian anthropologist and explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson to reclaim the island for the British Crown. Although the only member of the group remotely ‘at home’ in the Arctic environment she was consequently accused of neglecting or even murdering a male colleague, after the rest of the men had disappeared to seek help across the ice in January 1923. As she defended herself in the press, Blackjack was framed either as a heroic ‘female Robinson Crusoe’ or a questionable anti-wife who had failed to assist the endeavor of building “A new Empire of the North”. Linking this micro-historical episode of Arctic colonial history to the macro-historical matrix of imperial power and expansion, the paper exposes the contested nature of Arctic historiography. While illustrating the entangled nature of cultural and social memory it also explores the transformative potential of historical research that both implicates and unsettles established global narratives.
This paper was presented as part of the panel "Varieties of colonial history" at the 12th Annual Conference of the International Society for Cultural History at Tallinn University. It will be submitted for peer-review/publication in 2020.
Colonisation is a gendered enterprise, with archives both expressing and constructing the colony ... Læs mere
Colonisation is a gendered enterprise, with archives both expressing and constructing the colony as masculine domain, populated by explorers, hunters and (male dominated) resource extraction. This paper explores gendered memory cultures in British/North American Arctic exploration during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Using archival material, the paper investigates the intersections of gender, race and class as they shape both tangible and intangible memorization narratives of Josephine Diebitsch-Peary. As the wife of the Arctic explorer Robert Peary she accompanied her husband on expeditions to Greenland, giving birth to a daughter in Northern Greenland in 1893. Using papers and objects donated to the Women’s Archive in Portland, Maine, the paper traces how women are framed alternately as the ‘ideal’ wife and citizen and ‘that woman’, forming part of the many hidden histories of Arctic exploration narratives. Her archives thus allow us not only access to a woman’s perspective on an Arctic expedition, but also illustrate the gendered aspects of memory and colonialism that reach into the archive itself. The paper will demonstrate how an analysis within the context of memory studies enhances our understanding of Arctic histories and cultures by embracing the entangled nature of history and memory.
This paper was presented as part of the panel 'Gendering memories: all the way from heroism to disposession' at the Memory Studies Association Conference, Complutense Universidad, Madrid and will be submitted for peer-review/publication in 'Memory Studies' (Sage Journals).
This paper focuses on historical travel writing by women in order to investigate the construction ... Læs mere
This paper focuses on historical travel writing by women in order to investigate the construction of gendered geographies in the Far North. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines history, territorial discourses and gender studies, the paper examines travel literature as part of the construction and performance of gendered coloniality in Greenland and Northern Sweden.
The conference paper was presented as part of a special panel "Investigating the Politics of Gender History, Coloniality, Decoloniality and Indigeneity in the Greenlandic Archive (Pre-proposed Panel)" at NORA 2019, Border Regimes, Territorial Discourses and Feminist Politics at the University of Iceland (Programme attached).
It is now available as part of a special issue "Nordic Colonialisms and Scandinavian Studies", see Höglund, J., & Burnett, L. (2019). Introduction: Nordic Colonialisms and Scandinavian Studies. Scandinavian Studies, 91(1-2), 1-12. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/scanstud.91.1-2.0001.
Direct link> Reeploeg, S. (2019). Women in the Arctic: Gendering Coloniality in Travel Narratives from the Far North, 1907-1930. Scandinavian Studies, 91(1-2), 182-204. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/scanstud.91.1-2.0182.
Recognising the diverse roles that women have played in the history of the Arctic, both as coloni ... Læs mere
Recognising the diverse roles that women have played in the history of the Arctic, both as colonisers and colonised, this article uses travel writing or Arctic biographies by women writers to explore female colonisation strategies within the context of Scandinavian colonialism. Inspired by Maria Lugone’s use of the concept of “coloniality of gender” (2008) the article investigates how gendered coloniality is produced and mediated through travel writing by women in the Arctic. While Lugones’ critique primarily addresses the racism and violence inherent in modern/colonial gender systems, the analysis uses her understanding of coloniality as a lived experience of Eurocentric domination in order to illuminate the gendered nature of complicity by white, elite women. Using the work of Emilie Demantt (1873-1958), later Demantt-Hatt, and Isobel Wylie Hutchison (1889-1982) the article analyses both ‘Nordic’ and ‘transnational’ female strategies of colonisation as they are performed and articulated through biographical writing. Both in form and content, these texts demonstrate the many ways in which global and imperial power intersected with local hierarchies and systems of knowledge as part of multiple and concurring representations of reality over time.
This article uses historical travel writing by Anglo-European Women to investigate the constructi ... Læs mere
This article uses historical travel writing by Anglo-European Women to investigate the construction of gendered geographies in the Far North. Applying an interdisciplinary approach that combines history, literary analysis and gender studies, the paper examines the gendered aspects of travel, and the intersectionality of gender, class and race. Using examples from two published travel accounts and personal archives, the paper will demonstrate the historical processes of gender differences and representations, as well as capture the intersectionality of literature and the construction of place in real, imaginary and symbolic terms.
This article examines the reception of Old Norse literature and culture in the literatures of the ... Læs mere
This article examines the reception of Old Norse literature and culture in the literatures of the Scottish islands of Orkney and Shetland. It compares in particular the work of Shetland author James John Haldane Burgess (1862-1927) and the Orcadian author George Mackay Brown (1921-1996) and it evaluates the ways in which these two figures use their geographically peripheral positions as unique vantage points from which to reframe Nordic identity in their writing. By re-orientating the Scottish Islands from the periphery of Britain to the centre of important scenes in Nordic history, Haldane Burgess and Mackay Brown each construct a distinctive sense of geographical and cultural place. This approach allows the boundaries of the Nordic cultural sphere to be extended, and for a new and complex third space to emerge, in which the islands connect the Nordic and Anglo-Celtic realms and situate them within world literature.
Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Orkney, Shetland and, to some extent, the Hebrides, share both a Nord ... Læs mere
Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Orkney, Shetland and, to some extent, the Hebrides, share both a Nordic cultural and linguistic heritage, and the experience of being surrounded by the ever-present North Atlantic Ocean. This has been a constant in the islanders’ history, forging their unique way of life, influencing their customs and traditions, and has been instrumental in moulding their identities.
This volume is an exploration of a rich, intimate and, at times, terrifying relationship. It is the result of an international conference held in April 2014, when scholars from across the North Atlantic rim congregated in Lerwick, Shetland, to discuss maritime traditions, islands in Old Norse literature, insular archaeology, folklore, and traditional belief. The chapters reflect the varied origins of the contributors. Icelanders are well represented, as are scholars based in Orkney and Shetland, indicating the strength of scholarship in these seemingly isolated archipelagos. Peripheral they may be to the UK, but they lie at the heart of the North Atlantic, at the intersection of British and Nordic cultures.
This book will be of interest to scholars of a wide range of disciplines, such as those involved in island studies, cultural studies, Old Norse literature, Icelandic studies, maritime heritage, oceanography, linguistics, folklore, British studies, ethnology, and archaeology. Similarly, it will also appeal to researchers from a wide geographical area, particularly the UK, and Scandinavia, and indeed anywhere where there is an interest in the study of islands or the North Atlantic.
This week’s blog comes from Silke Reeploeg, a lecturer with the University of the Highlands and I ... Læs mere
This week’s blog comes from Silke Reeploeg, a lecturer with the University of the Highlands and Islands based in the Shetland Islands. She has taught history and literature on a s200_silke.reeploegvariety of programmes including Orkney and Shetland Studies, Island Studies and Highlands and Islands Culture, and has recently completed a PhD thesis on the historical and cultural links between Scotland and Norway in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
This book chapter investigates transnational cultural encounters that cross the established resea ... Læs mere
This book chapter investigates transnational cultural encounters that cross the established research areas of Northern European, Nordic, and Scandinavian Studies. Using approaches from Scandinavian research on coastal communities and cultural spaces, the article examines cultural transfer between Norway and Scotland through trade and exchange during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The interdisciplinary and transnational approach adopted throughout the paper suggests new perspectives in researching coastal communities in Britain, as part of a wider understanding of cultural encounters between the communities of the North.
Cet article porte sur le rôle du bateau en tant que médiateur des cultures tangible et intangible ... Læs mere
Cet article porte sur le rôle du bateau en tant que médiateur des cultures tangible et intangible dans la région de l’Atlantique nord, en comparant la représentation des bateaux et les collections maritimes conservées dans les musées dédiés aux folklores écossais et norvégien. Il explore les similarités et les différences des définitions de la côte comme « lieu maritime » par le biais d’objets, et s’intéresse plus particulièrement aux récits et aux aspects d’une mémoire commune influençant la formation de traditions culturelles régionales et nationales. En liant la théorie du transfert culturel aux études sur la culture matérielle, et à l’aide de l’approche microhistorique de l’Alltagsgeschichte, nous comparerons la façon dont les habitants des Shetland et les Norvégiens occidentaux ont participé à la construction et à leur identification à la culture côtière [kystkultur] par l’entremise d’objets maritimes et narratifs.
Coastal cultures form a complex area of research, offering new opportunities to investigate and u ... Læs mere
Coastal cultures form a complex area of research, offering new opportunities to investigate and understand the history of cultural encounters and transnational “regions of culture” across the Northern peripheries. This article investigates the connected cultures of coastal communities of Norway, Scotland, and Canada after 1700. A shared, diverse, but similarly sea-focused cultural landscape exists across the North that informs the way in which regional cultural identities are formed and maintained. Using new methodologies of cultural transfer such as entangled histories or histoire croisée, this article pays particular attention to the creation of transient cross-cultural networks and regions stimulated by trade and related contacts across the North Sea and the North Atlantic.
This article argues that cartography and topographical description played a significant role in t ... Læs mere
This article argues that cartography and topographical description played a significant role in the way in which areas of the Scottish Northern Isles were represented and visualised, as a regional space, after the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, and, alongside that, the development of the concept of a British state and nation. Not only did topographical literature become more professionalised and commercially-oriented during the eighteenth century, but the visual representations of territories created in maps and charts became part of a network of cultural practices that both linked and divided historical regions across the British Isles. On the one hand, map-making re-negotiated national spaces in order to contribute to the formation the United Kingdom or Great Britain (itself a complex national entity) and, on the other hand, it provided an opportunity to re-create a sense of place or Northern regional identity, continuing to be part of an intercultural Northern European maritime region linked by the North Sea. As can be seen in the following case studies from the Shetland Islands and Western Norway, at ‘image level’, the change in perceptions about a region's identity (or one's own, within that region), often follows a long process, ‘since shifts in the attitudes of mental mapping tend to slowly follow changes in political and social conditions, mixing with philosophical and aesthetic conventions of the time’.
This article explores intercultural links between the coastal communities of the North Atlantic r ... Læs mere
This article explores intercultural links between the coastal communities of the North Atlantic region by discussing the cultural and social history of Norwegian objects displayed in regional heritage collections in Orkney and Shetland. The relationship between Norway and the Northern Isles of Scotland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially trading links, is considered using the bentwood box as a way of accessing both tangible and intangible knowledge. Different types of traditional wooden boxes from Shetland, Orkney, Norway, and Iceland are compared using a microhistorical approach, which enables us to consider Norway and Scotland both as individual “ethno-territories” and as part of continuously changing networks of social and cultural contact across the North Atlantic.
The Shetland Islands are a good example of what island cultures and societies can tell us about t ... Læs mere
The Shetland Islands are a good example of what island cultures and societies can tell us about the construction and maintenance of national identities, as well as the way in which historical perspectives and internalised ideas influence how we locate parts of Britain. How do these - other islands become part of the national mental map? And how do islanders themselves incorporate - Britishness into their cultural identity?
For the ―Northern Isles‖ of Orkney and Shetland, their geographical position has historically meant being an outpost of the British Isles, at its Northern ―edge,‖ as noted by Sandy Cluness, Convenor of the Shetland Islands Council, in an interview with The Journal: ―We are on the periphery and have all the higher costs that come with that and not many of the advantages. This chapter demonstates that the cultural heritage of the Scottish Northern Islands actually insists on being ―other, often resisting, and sometimes opposing, the dominant, national historical and political narratives. The Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland are therefore of real interest in terms of exploring the complex and adaptable nature of representing ―otherness‖ within British identity, and the way islanders actively utilise their economic, political and cultural-historical environment to create a multiplicity of localised island identities within the national narrative.
Course description and reading list of new graduate level course "Critical perspectives on cultur ... Læs mere
Course description and reading list of new graduate level course "Critical perspectives on cultural heritage".
The study of memory cultures often foregrounds the recovery of denied historical truths, with the ... Læs mere
The study of memory cultures often foregrounds the recovery of denied historical truths, with the recognition that social and cultural norms not only shape canonical versions of the past, but continue to be complicit in legitimised forms of forgetting and erasure. This paper investigates the intersections between personal archives and other forms of cultural expression in acts of collective memoralization and forgetting. Using the personal archives of Josephine Diebitsch-Peary, the research introduces the concept of coloniality to studying Arctic memory cultures by examining the role of gender in the context of Arctic exploration literature. The paper concludes that an understanding of the coloniality of knowledge and its connections to epistemic violence is crucial to the study of memory and historical legacy in the Arctic.