Claiming the North

Symposium October 2013 with Michael Herzfeld

2013-10-03 15.40.18

The international and cross-disciplinary symposium in Reykjavík facilitated a discussion on current and potential restructuring in the circumpolar north with a focus on the West-Nordic Arctic and Subarctic regions. Particular attention was paid to identity politics and minoritization and majoritization processes there within. Discussions enveloped the multiple transnational effects of colonial ties, climate change, industrial activity and increased mobility on sovereign and indigenous rights, broad security concerns, economic interests and notions of cultural sustainability An integral part of this discussion is the current transnational jockeying – with the participation of the region’s small states – to carve out a role in the “re- territorialization” of the Arctic as a natural-resource base, an eco-system, and a potentially contested cultural and political terrain. In addition to vertical perspectives of policy-making the symposium also looked at the vernacular practice of these political, cultural, and territorial discourses. In addition the speakers addressed the recent counter-narratives produced in the public arena and the arts.

At this occasion the renowned anthropologist Michael Herzfeld who introduced the concept of the crypto-colonial society engaged in a fruitful discussion of crypto-colonial aspects of the North Atlantic region.

Michael Herzfeld (Harvard University): Where Ambiguity Serves the Interests of Power: Testing the Fuzzy Edges of Crypto-Colonialism
Kirsten Thisted (University of Copenhagen): Imperial ghosts in the North Atlantic – old and new narratives about the colonial relations between Denmark and Greenland

Panels and Participants:

Panel 1: Obscure histories, emerging trends and the crypto-colonial North
Panel 2: Mobility and arctic discourses in the “region-to-be”

Sumarliði Ísleifsson (INOR – University of Iceland): Hellas of the North
Edward Hujben: Arctic ‘concessions’ and icebreaker diplomacy? Chinese tourism development in Iceland
Ian Watson (Bifröst University): Post-colonial echoes in the Icelandic consumer experience
Katla Kjartansdóttir (EDDA): Kristinn Schram (CAPS/EDDA), Mobile People in West Nordic Performative Spaces
Ólafur Rastrick (EDDA): Imagining Greenland as an Icelandic Colony 1924–1955
Ebbe Volquardsen (Justus-Liebig Universität Giessen): Danish narratives about a humane kind of colonialism
Ann-Sofie Gremaud (University of Copenhagen): To be or not to be post-colonial – Iceland as center and periphery

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