Lunde, Arne, and Anna Westerstahl Stenport. ‘Helga Crane’s Copenhagen: Denmark, Colonialism, and Transnational Identity in Nella Larsen’s “Quicksand”’. Comparative Literature, vol. 60, no. 3, [Duke University Press, University of Oregon], 2008, pp. 228–243.
Ipsen, Pernille. ‘“The Christened Mulatresses”: Euro-African Families in a Slave-Trading Town’. The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 70, no. 2, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 2013, pp. 371–398.
In the 1760s “Mulatresse Lene” was cassaret (married) to Danish interim governor and slave trader Frantz Joachim Kühberg in Osu on the Gold Coast. The local history of Ga-Danish families such as hers in Osu illustrates how Euro-African women on the West African coast could benefit from marrying European slave traders and could use these marriages to expand their room for maneuver in the coastal society. By marrying European men, christening their children, and sending them to the church school at the Danish fort, Euro-African women claimed a powerful intermediary position in the racialized social hierarchy of the Atlantic slave trade, and as they did so they helped reproduce this same racial hierarchy. Yet Euro-African families were not just taking advantage of their position to widen their opportunities; they were also using it as a means of protection in a violent and stressful slave-trading environment. At the height of the slave trade in the second half of the eighteenth century, Africans participating in the slave trade—even elite Euro-Africans such as Kühberg and her family—were under pressure to protect themselves and their families from being sold across the Atlantic.
Ipsen, Pernille. ‘Sexualizing the Other: From Ethnopornography to Interracial Pornography in European Travel Writing about West African Women’. Ethno-Pornography: Sexuality, Colonialism, and Archival Knowledge, Eds. Peter Herman Sigal, Zeb Tortorici, and Neil L Whitehead, 2020.
Ipsen, Pernille. ‘“Plant Ikke Upas-Træet Om Vor Bolig”: Colonial Haunting, Race, and Interracial Marriage in Hans Christian Andersen’s Mulatten (1840)’. Scandinavian Studies, vol. 88, no. 2, Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, University of Illinois Press, 2016, pp. 129–158.
Ipsen, Pernille. Koko’s Daughters: Danish Men Marrying Ga Women in an Atlantic Slave Trading Port in the Eighteenth Century. Dissertation. Københavns Universistet, 2008,
Ipsen, Pernille. Daughters of the Trade: Atlantic Slavers and Interracial Marriage on the Gold Coast. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.
Severine Brock’s first language was Ga, yet it was not surprising when, in 1842, she married Edward Carstensen. He was the last governor of Christiansborg, the fort that, in the eighteenth century, had been the center of Danish slave trading in West Africa. She was the descendant of Ga-speaking women who had married Danish merchants and traders. Their marriage would have been familiar to Gold Coast traders going back nearly 150 years. In Daughters of the Trade, Pernille Ipsen follows five generations of marriages between African women and Danish men, revealing how interracial marriage created a Euro-African hybrid culture specifically adapted to the Atlantic slave trade.
Although interracial marriage was prohibited in European colonies throughout the Atlantic world, in Gold Coast slave-trading towns it became a recognized and respected custom. Cassare, or ‘keeping house,’ gave European men the support of African women and their kin, which was essential for their survival and success, while African families made alliances with European traders and secured the legitimacy of their offspring by making the unions official.
For many years, Euro-African families lived in close proximity to the violence of the slave trade. Sheltered by their Danish names and connections, they grew wealthy and influential. But their powerful position on the Gold Coast did not extend to the broader Atlantic world, where the link between blackness and slavery grew stronger, and where Euro-African descent did not guarantee privilege. By the time Severine Brock married Edward Carstensen, their world had changed. Daughters of the Trade uncovers the vital role interracial marriage played in the coastal slave trade, the production of racial difference, and the increasing stratification of the early modern Atlantic world.
Bone, Martyn Richard. ‘Teaching Quicksand in Denmark’. Approaches To Teaching the Novels of Nella Larsen, ed. Jacqui McLendon Modern Language Association of America, 2016.
McEachrane, Michael, editor. Afro-Nordic Landscapes: Equality and Race in Northern Europe. New York: Routledge, 2014.
Afro-Nordic Landscapes: Equality and Race in Northern Europe challenges a view of Nordic societies as homogenously white, and as human rights champions that are so progressive that even the concept of race is deemed irrelevant to their societies. The book places African Diasporas, race and legacies of imperialism squarely in a Nordic context. How has a nation as peripheral as Iceland been shaped by an identity of being white? How do Black Norwegians challenge racially conscribed views of Norwegian nationhood? What does the history of jazz in Denmark say about the relation between its national identity and race? What is it like to be a mixed-race black Swedish woman? How have African Diasporans in Finland navigated issues of race and belonging? And what does the widespread denial of everyday racism in Nordic societies mean to Afro-Nordics? This text is a must read for anyone interested in issues of race in the Nordic region and Europe writ large. As Paul Gilroy writes in his foreword, it is a book that ‘should be studied with care and profit inside the Nordic countries and also outside them by the broader international readership that has been established around the study of racism and “critical race theory”.’
Foreword—Paul Gilroy. A
Introduction —Michael McEachrane
Part I: The Nation
1. Imagining Blackness at the Margins: Race and Difference in Iceland —Kristín Loftsdóttir
2. ‘Struggling to Be Recognized as Belonging to the Fauna of Norway’: On Being Black Norwegian Women—Madeleine Kennedy-Macfoy
3. The Midnight Sun Never Sets: An Email Conversation About Jazz, Race and National Identity in Denmark, Norway and Sweden—Cecil Brown, Anne Dvinge, Petter Frost Fadnes, Johan Fornäs, Ole Izard Høyer, Marilyn Mazur, Michael McEachrane and John Tchicai
Part II: Racism
4. There’s a White Elephant in the Room: Equality and Race in (Northern) Europe—Michael McEachrane
5. Racism Is No Joke: A Swedish Minister and a Hottentot Venus Cake—An Email Conversation—Beth Maina Ahlberg, Claudette Carr, Madubuko Diakité, Fatima El-Tayeb, Tobias Hübinette, Momodou Jallow, Victoria Kawesa, Michael McEachrane, Utz McKnight, Anders Neergaard, Shailja Patel, Kitimbwa Sabuni and Minna Salami
6. Being and Becoming Mixed Race, Black, Swedish and a Nomadic Subject—Anna Adeniji
7. Bertrand Besigye’s Civilization Critique: An Aesthetics of Blackness in Norway—Helena Karlsson
8. Two Poems by Bertrand Besigye: (i) How A Black African Orders Black Coffee (To Barack Hussein Obama); (ii) You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. Or Black Hail Over All of West Side (Translated by John Irons)—Bertrand Besigye
Part III: Diaspora
9. Talking Back: Voices from the African Diaspora in Finland—Anna Rastas
10. Den Sorte: Nella Larsen and Denmark—Martyn Bone
11. A Horn of Africa in Northern Europe—An Email Conversation—Abdalla Duh, Mohamed Husein Gaas, Abdalla Gasimelseed, Amel Gorani, Nauja Kleist, Anne Kubai, Michael McEachrane, Saifalyazal Omar, Tsegaye Tegenu and Marja Tiilikain.
Madsen, Lian Malai, Martha Sif Karrebaek, and Janus Spindler. The Amager Project: A Study of Language and Social Life of Minority Children and Youth. (Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies; No. 52).
Duncker, Dorthe, Bettina Perregaard, and Martha Sif Karrebæk, editors. ‘”I Am Lucky I Can Speak Arabic”: Linguistic Hegemony and Minority Language Use in Copenhagen’. Creativity and Continuity: Perspectives on the Dynamics of Language Conventionalisation, U Press, 2017.
Martha S. Karrebæk.. Pigs and Pork in Denmark: Meaning Change, Morality and Traditional Foods. WP230, Literacies, Working Papers in Urban Language. 2017.
This paper engages with meanings of pork and pigs, as they are revealed in Denmark today. The main objective is to discuss the relation between use and understandings as revealed in interaction in different settings, on the one hand, and how such situational uses relate to nation-wide mass-mediated discourses, on the other. The porcine area lends itself to such an analysis, as pork carries a range of important indexicalities in contemporary Denmark. It signifies tradition, industrialization, and an anti-immigration stance. Interactional data come from three field-studies, from a school, a fine-dining restaurant and a fast food restaurant. The media data come from three recent debates on Denmark, Danish values, and immigrants versus Danes.
Karrebæk, Martha Sif. ‘“What’s in Your Lunch Box Today?”: Health, Respectability, and Ethnicity in the Primary Classroom’. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, vol. 22, no. 1, 2012, pp. 1–22.
Much socialization of children into healthy food practices takes place in the educational system. However, teachers’ understandings of healthy food may differ from those of students and parents. Furthermore, health is connected to respectability. Thus, food socialization concerns more than nutritional values. This study examines lunchtime interactions between minority students and majority teachers in a Danish classroom. I show that certain traditional food items (rye bread) are treated as superior to certain others that minority children regularly bring. Children are accountable for lunch boxes, and cultural and personal preferences are disregarded if at odds with dominant understandings of healthy food. [
Keskinen, Suvi. ‘Antiracist Feminism and the Politics of Solidarity in Neoliberal Times’. Feminisms in the Nordic Region: Neoliberalism, Nationalism and Decolonial Critique, Eds. Suvi Keskinen, Pauline Stoltz, and Diana Mulinari, Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2021, 201–221.
This chapter analyses the establishment and expansion of antiracist feminism in the last decade throughout the Nordic region, with new groups, media sites, and public events organised, especially in the large cities. I examine antiracist feminist and queer of colour activism in which the main or sole actors belong to groups racialised as non-white or “others” in Nordic societies. A fundamental argument developed in the chapter is the central role and potential of these emerging social movements to reconfigure political agendas and tackling of pressing societal issues, due to their capacity to overlap and connect the borders of antiracist, feminist, and (to some extent) class-based politics. The chapter further argues for the usefulness of theorising the neoliberal turn of racial capitalism as the societal condition in which feminist activism takes place.
Thomsen, Jens Peter, Bolette Moldenhawer, and Tine Kallehave. Ethnic Differences in Education in Denmark: Survey Report. EDUMIGROM, 2010.
The primary purpose of this report is to give a descriptive and analytical account of the lives of minority urban youth at the end of their primary schooling by looking at their school experiences and achievements, plans for future education and work life, attitudes towards school, and relations to peers, as well as the shaping of identity among minority students. Focusing on youth in the 8th and 9th grades in primary school in Copenhagen, Denmark, the report not only differentiates among ethnic groups in order to identify significant social patterns among groups, but also explores how ethnic differentiations intersect with other variables relating to the students’ background (gender, parents’ socio-economic status and educational level, and so on), and characteristics of everyday social life (social interaction, peer relations, etc). The report aims to contribute to a growing body of research on early identity formation and interethnic relations among young people in primary schools as a way of understanding how and why social positions of young people are structured the way they are.
Simonsen, Kristina Bakkær, and Bart Bonikowski. ‘Is Civic Nationalism Necessarily Inclusive? Conceptions of Nationhood and Anti-Muslim Attitudes in Europe’. European Journal of Political Research, vol. 59, no. 1, 2020, pp. 114–136.
Despite the centrality of national identity in the exclusionary discourse of the European radical right, scholars have not investigated how popular definitions of nationhood are connected to dispositions toward Muslims. Moreover, survey-based studies tend to conflate anti-Muslim attitudes with general anti-immigrant sentiments. This article contributes to research on nationalism and out-group attitudes by demonstrating that varieties of national self-understanding are predictive of anti-Muslim attitudes, above and beyond dispositions toward immigrants. Using latent class analysis and regression models of survey data from 41 European countries, it demonstrates that conceptions of nationhood are heterogeneous within countries and that their relationship with anti-Muslim attitudes is contextually variable. Consistent with expectations, in most countries, anti-Muslim attitudes are positively associated with ascriptive – and negatively associated with elective (including civic) – conceptions of nationhood. Northwestern Europe, however, is an exception to this pattern: in this region, civic nationalism is linked to greater antipathy toward Muslims. It is suggested that in this region, elective criteria of belonging have become fused with exclusionary notions of national culture that portray Muslims as incompatible with European liberal values, effectively legitimating anti-Muslim sentiments in mainstream political culture. This may heighten the appeal of anti-Muslim sentiments not only on the radical right, but also among mainstream segments of the Northwestern European public, with important implications for social exclusion and political behaviour.
Simonsen, Kristina Bakkær. ‘The Democratic Consequences of Anti-Immigrant Political Rhetoric: A Mixed Methods Study of Immigrants’ Political Belonging’. Political Behavior, May 2019.
Anti-immigrant political rhetoric is proliferating in Europe, inspiring research to examine the potential effects on public opinion. However, studies of the reactions of first- and second-generation immigrants—the objects of this rhetoric—remain scarce. This article argues that political rhetoric should be treated as a context of integration affecting political outcomes, in particular political belonging. To that end, the article combines qualitative evidence from focus group discussions conducted in Denmark, a high-salience context, and quantitative evidence from cross-national survey and party manifesto data from 18 Western European countries over a 12-year period. In addition to demonstrating a negative mean effect, the analyses show that those most in focus of contemporary political messages (Muslims and immigrants with shorter educations) are most affected, suggesting a sophisticated processing of political rhetoric. In contrast, traditional explanations concerning structural incorporation, generational integration, and exposure to rhetoric are not supported. The article discusses the implications of the results for democratic inclusion in contemporary Europe.
Simonsen, Kristina Bakkær. ‘Ripple Effects: An Exclusive Host National Context Produces More Perceived Discrimination among Immigrants’. European Journal of Political Research, vol. 55, no. 2, 2016, pp. 374–390.
This article examines the perceived discrimination of immigrants – a group for whom experiences of discrimination can be damaging for their long-term commitment and identification with the national core group. Taking its point of departure in the literature on national identity, the article argues that perceived discrimination should be strongest among immigrants in host national societies with an exclusive self-image. This hypothesis is examined by use of multilevel regressions on cross-national survey data from 18 Western European countries. It is found that where exclusive attitudes are widespread in the host population, the percentage of immigrants who perceive themselves to be part of a group discriminated against is significantly greater, all else being equal. In addition, there is a cross-level interaction effect of host national inclusivity and ethnic minority identity which suggests that individual-level determinants of perceived discrimination do not ‘work’ in the same way in normatively different contexts. In terms of the implications of these findings, the article points to the importance of contextualising individual-level accounts of perceived discrimination, with particular focus on the power of a society’s attitudinal milieu to affect individual feelings of inclusion and exclusion.
Simonsen, Kristina Bakkær. ‘Politics Feeds Back: The Minority/Majority Turnout Gap and Citizenship in Anti-Immigrant Times’. Perspectives on Politics, Cambridge University Press, 2020, pp. 1–16.
Voting is a democratic virtue and an important mechanism for citizens to let their voices be heard. However, citizens do not participate in politics at equal levels, with consequences for their political power. While turnout gaps between different socioeconomic groups are well researched, the biggest gap in many Western European countries today has been overlooked: that between the children of immigrants (minority youths) and the majority population. I argue that existing theories fall short in addressing this gap because they do not attend to the distinctly political forces that shape citizens’ relationships to politics. Building on the policy-feedback literature, and analyzing seventy-one in-depth interviews with minority and majority youths in Denmark, I show that because these groups are targeted very differently in policy and political discourse, they have substantially different conceptions of politics and their status as citizens. Many minority youths react to anti-immigrant political messages by dissociating from politics, but I warn against interpreting their quiescence as political apathy. Instead, dissociating from politics can be a strategy to reclaim power over their self-understanding and can be experienced as empowering. These findings challenge classic conceptualizations of political engagement and open discussion about how to understand political behavior in increasingly diverse societies.
Simonsen, Kristina Bakkær. ‘Ghetto-Society-Problem: A Discourse Analysis of Nationalist Othering: Ghetto-Society-Problem’. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, vol. 16, no. 1, Apr. 2016, pp. 83–99.
This article examines the role of the ghetto in Danish political discourse. While ghetto studies have previously been conducted within the field of urban sociology, the article departs from this tradition in offering a discourse analytical perspective on the former Danish government’s strategy against ghettoization (The Ghetto Plan). Integrating perspectives from the literature on nationalism with Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse analytical framework, the analysis argues that the ghetto marks an antagonistic anti-identity to Danish society. This discursive construction of the ghetto against society has the effect of confirming Danish identity, while at the same time precluding possibilities of the ghetto’s integration in society. Highlighting these implications, the study feeds into societal debates on integration, and suggests a framework for studying nationalist othering in a discourse analytical perspective.
Karrebæk, Martha Sif. ‘Rye Bread for Lunch, Lasagne for Breakfast: Enregisterment, Classrooms, and National Food Norms in Superdiversity’. Engaging Superdiversity: Recombining Spaces, Times and Language Practices, Eds. Karel Arnaut, Jan Blommaert, Martha Sif Karrebæk, and Massimiliano Spotti, Bristol; Blue Ridge Summit: Multilingual Matters, 2017, 90–120. Rye bread for lunch, lasagne for breakfast: Enregisterment, classrooms, and national food norms in superdiversity
Karrebæk, Martha Sif. ‘Healthy Beverages?: The Interactional Use of Milk, Juice and Water in an Ethnically Diverse Kindergarten Class in Denmark’. Language and Food, Ed. Polly E. Szatrowski, John Benjamins, 2014, 279–300.
This paper investigates the socialization into healthy food practices in a Danish multi-ethnic kindergarten classroom within the frameworks of Linguistic Ethnography (Creese, 2008; Rampton, Maybin & Tusting, 2007) and Language Socialization (Ochs, 1988; Schieffelin, 1990). I present micro-analyses of three situations where the health value of milk, water, and juice is topicalized. Health is a moral concept which is culturally embedded but linguistically constructed and negotiated. I discuss how learning outcomes in health educational activities depend on individuals’ understandings prior to interactions and on the process of co-ordinating understandings. Also, in children’s conversations nutritional value becomes an interactional resource. The paper contributes to prior research with a micro-analytic perspective on the role of health education in wider processes of social exclusion and intercultural (mis)understandings.
Karrebæk, Martha Sif. ‘“Don’t speak like that to her!”: Linguistic minority children’s socialization into an ideology of monolingualism’. Journal of Sociolinguistics, vol. 17, no. 3, 2013, pp. 355–375.
It is of general interest to the study of language in society how ideologies motivating linguistic hegemony get formulated in the context of increasing diversity. This includes if and how linguistic diversity surfaces under conditions that are clearly disfavouring it, and why or why not it happens. Also, we need to know how ideologies of language surface at the micro-level, and how they are continuously passed on, shared, negotiated or contested. These are central issues in this study of socialization into a condition and an ideology of linguistic hegemony in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is illustrated how school-authorities, parents and children co-create Danish dominance and a linguistic ideology of monolingualism during the first school year. The primary focus is on two school-beginners with minority language background in a linguistically diverse classroom, and the linguistic registers of particular interest are Danish, the majority language, and Turkish, an immigrant language. The article builds on field-notes, ethnographic interviews, video- and audio-recordings. Linguistic Ethnography and Language Socialization constitute the methodological frameworks, and Silverstein’s ‘total linguistic fact’ forms an analytic principle.
Madsen, Lian Malai, Martha Sif Karrebæk, and Janus Spindler Møller, editors. ‘Everyday Languaging: Collaborative Research on the Language Use of Children and Youth’. De Gruyter Mouton, 2016.
This book contributes to current theory building within applied linguistics and sociolinguistics by looking at the role of language in the lives, realities, and understandings of real children and youth in an urban setting. Collectively the studies amount to a comprehensive account of how urban children and youth construct, reactivate, negotiate, contest, and navigate between different linguistic and sociocultural norms and resources.
Martha Sif Karrebæk, Lian Malai Madsen and Janus Spindler Møller Introduction—Everyday Languaging: Collaborative research on the language use of children and youth
Martha Sif Karrebæk: Arabs, Arabic and urban languaging: Polycentricity and incipient enregisterment among primary school children in Copenhagen
Liva Hyttel-Sørensen: Gangster talk on the phone – analyses of a mass media parody of a contemporary urban vernacular in Copenhagen and its reception
Andreas Stæhr: Normativity as a social resource in social media practices
Astrid Ag: Rights and wrongs – authority in family interactions
Ulla Lundqvist: Becoming a “smart student”: The emergence and unexpected implications of one child’s social identification
Lamies Nassr: “Well, because we are the One Direction girls” – Popular culture, friendship, and social status in a peer group
Lian Malai Madsen: ‘The Diva in the room’ – Rap music, education and discourses on integration
Thomas Rørbeck Nørreby: Ethnic identifications in late modern Copenhagen
Janus Spindler Møller: Discursive reactions to nationalism among adolescents in Copenhagen
Asif Agha: Growing up bilingual in Copenhagen.
Elwert, Annika, and Anna Tegunimataka. ‘Cohabitation Premiums in Denmark: Income Effects in Immigrant–Native Partnerships’. European Sociological Review, vol. 32, no. 3, June 2016, pp. 383–402.
Intermarriage with natives has the potential to enhance immigrant integration, as intermarried immigrants gain access to resources such as language skills, information about institutions and customs, and native networks. Due to these spillover effects, immigrants in intermarriages are more likely to be successful in the labour market. However, a positive relationship between intermarriage and economic integration can also be caused by selection based on unobserved characteristics. In previous studies, spillover effects have only been studied from the time of marriage but could occur in a period of cohabitation before marriage. Using unique register data from Denmark, we are able to identify cohabiting couples to analyse both intermarriage and exogamous cohabitation premiums. We study these effects and address selection in a panel data framework, obtaining a time profile of income in relation to the start of cohabitation. Results show comparatively high premiums for male and female immigrants from countries with lower levels of overall economic development and these income increases are directly related to relationship formation.
Brodmann, Stefanie, and Javier G. Polavieja. ‘Immigrants in Denmark: Access to Employment, Class Attainment and Earnings in a High-Skilled Economy’. International Migration, vol. 49, no. 1, 2011, pp. 58–90.
This study examines employment access, class attainment, and earnings among native-born and first-generation immigrants in Denmark using Danish administrative data from 2002. Results suggest large gaps in employment access between native-born Danes and immigrants, as well as among immigrant groups by country of origin and time of arrival. Non-Western immigrants and those arriving after 1984 are at a particular disadvantage compared to other immigrants, a finding not explained by education differences. Immigrants are more likely to be employed in unskilled manual jobs and less likely to be employed in professional and intermediate-level positions than native-born Danes, although the likelihood of obtaining higher-level positions increases as immigrants’ time in Denmark lengthens. Class attainment and accumulated work experience explain a significant portion of native-immigrant gaps in earnings, but work experience reduces native-immigrant gaps in class attainment for lower-level positions only. The Danish “flexicurity” model and its implications for immigrants living in Denmark are discussed.