Marselis, Randi. ‘Descendants of Slaves: The Articulation of Mixed Racial Ancestry in a Danish Television Documentary Series’. European Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 11, no. 4, SAGE Publications Ltd, Nov. 2008, pp. 447–469.
The aim of the Danish television documentary series Slavernes Slægt (Descendants of Slaves, 2005) has been to enhance public awareness of Danish colonial history. As is typical of contemporary mediated memories, the account of national history is combined with `small histories’ that focus on live stories of individuals and their families. Participating in the series are present-day descendants of enslaved Africans who, as a result of an interest in family historical research, have found information about their black ancestry. The series challenges the supposed historical homogeneity of Nordic nation-states by pointing out the historical presence of black individuals. However, this article will show how discourses of family history (e.g. the focus on bloodlines) converge with old `race’ theory; the result of which is that the series inadvertently reproduces processes of visual Othering.