This paper investigates the cultural-historical processes that connect early twentieth century Ar ... Read more
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 ... Read more
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 ... Read more
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.
The Danish colonial project in Greenland during the nineteenth century has been subject to a pola ... Read more
The Danish colonial project in Greenland during the nineteenth century has been subject to a polarizing debate in the current Danish and Greenlandic public sphere. On the one hand, there are observers depicting the colonial administration as a benevolent and socially-inclusive, whereas others regard it as a socially-exclusive regime. Using a newly collected dataset of Protestant mission’s marriage registers from four West Greenlandic towns (Nuuk, Qaqortoq, Qeqertasuaq and Aasiaat) this paper investigates empirically the hypothesis whether Greenlanders experienced an upward intergenerational occupational mobility over the colonial period. The analysis identifies fathers and sons (grooms) occupational attainment to document quantitatively how the structure of the labor market changed over time. We discuss how the colonial labor market became a key ladder for social mobility after the introduction of administrative reforms and a new institutional agenda in the second half of the nineteenth century. We add to the literature by providing further evidence on the link between historical social mobility and the emergence of inclusive institutions in an arctic indigenous society.