White, William A., Remembering Queen Mary: Heritage Conservation, Black People, Denmark, and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage, 0.0 (2022), 1–24
On October 1, 1878, Afro-Crucian laborers on the Danish colonial Caribbean island of St. Croix launched a historic protest that resulted in extensive damage to the sugar industry. Known locally as “Fireburn,” this was a formative event in the relationship between Afro-Crucian people and plantation owners, who were mostly of European descent. Histories of Fireburn cite four women, Queen Mary, Queen Agnes, Queen Mathilda, and Susana Abramsen, as the uprising’s leaders. Fireburn, the Queens, and other forms of resistance continue to be sources of pride for Afro-Crucians and are part of Black heritage conservation efforts in St. Croix. Community-based archaeological work conducted by the Society of Black Archaeologists (SBA) dovetails with the ways Afro-Crucian heritage is created, maintained, and discussed by Afro-Crucian people, but contrasts with prevailing Danish narratives of history. This work has also found a home with anticolonialism scholars in Denmark working to create a more reparatory history.
Yankholmes, Aaron Kofi Badu, Oheneba Akwasi Akyeampong, and Laud Alfred Dei. ‘Residents’ Perceptions of Transatlantic Slave Trade Attractions for Heritage Tourism in Danish-Osu, Ghana’. Journal of Heritage Tourism, vol. 4, no. 4, Routledge, Nov. 2009, pp. 315–329.
Against the background of lingering controversy over the use of Transatlantic Slave Trade (TAST) relics for tourism ends, this paper sought to examine residents’ perceptions towards proposed promotion of heritage tourism based on TAST relics in Danish-Osu, a former slave site in Accra, capital of Ghana. A combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methods were employed during the fieldwork towards the end of 2007. A questionnaire survey captured 200 household heads in six communities while interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with other key stakeholders in the Danish-Osu community. Frequencies and percentages were used to demonstrate residents’ lay concepts of tourism, whereas the mean, t-test and one-way ANOVA were used to measure residents’ attitude towards heritage tourism. A major finding of the study is that residents’ perceive tourism from a cultural perspective because of the numerous TAST resources in the community. However, residents’ support for heritage tourism is influenced by place of residence. This suggested that irrespective of the place of residence, residents of Danish-Osu were found to be supportive of heritage products and activities. Implications were discussed in the context of how residents’ perceptions will affect preservation efforts at various stages of tourism planning.
Yankholmes, Aaron K. B., and Oheneba A. Akyeampong. ‘Tourists’ Perceptions of Heritage Tourism Development in Danish-Osu, Ghana’. International Journal of Tourism Research, vol. 12, no. 5, 2010, pp. 603–616.
This paper examines the tourist perceptions at Danish, Osu-Ghana within the dark tourism or slavery heritage contexts. Using Cohen’s (1979) typology of tourist experience, we differentiate between tourist knowledge of a heritage site relative to socio-demographic indices. The results indicate that tourists’ perception of Danish-Osu reflect their knowledge of the site in relation to its cultural heritage attributes. In addition, it was found that tourists have dual experiences of the site: those that relate to recreational pursuits of heritage sites and those that ascribe meanings based on their background. The contemporary nature and use of Transatlantic Slave Trade relics for tourism development makes the case of the Danish-Osu more delicate considering the ethical implications of interpreting the community’s past to tourists as the borderlines are unclear.
Thisted, Kirsten. ‘“Where Once Dannebrog Waved for More than 200 Years”: Banal Nationalism, Narrative Templates and Post-Colonial Melancholia’. Review of Development and Change, vol. 14, Dec. 2009, pp. 147–172.
Thisted, Kirsten. ‘Hvor Dannebrog engang har vajet i mer end 200 Aar’. Tranquebar Initiativets Skriftserie, vol. 2, 2008, p. 55.
Artiklen fokuserer på Sophie Petersens Danmarks gamle Tropekolonier, 1946: Et værk som spidsformulerer fortællingen om Danmark som et gennemført humanistisk og retfærdighedshung-rende lilleputland, der ironisk nok ofrer sine stormagts-potentialer netop for retfærdighedens skyld, men af den grund vinder så meget desto større ære på det etiske og moralske plan. Fortællingen lader til først at finde sin færdige formulering efter salget af den sidste tropekoloni, måske som en form for forklaring og kompensation herpå, men får samtidig en afgørende rolle i Danmarks legitimering af kravet på (hele) Grønland, ligesom fortællingen i 1940-erne og 50 erne får yderligere relevans i forbindelse med Anden Verdenskrig og den efterfølgende afkolonisering.
Sophie Petersens værk blev modtaget med begejstring både af anmeldere og læsere og er citeret igen og igen, ikke blot i de følgende år, blandt andet i et værk som Vore gamle Tropekolonier (Brøndsted red., 1952-53), men også i nutiden, hvor den ideale nationale fortælling fortsat skriver sig igennem, selv i tilfælde hvor den eksplicitte hensigt ellers har været at kreere en modfortælling. Fænomenet søges forklaret ud fra teorier om nation, erindring og fortælling, ligesom det diskuteres, hvorvidt en fortsat interesse i de tidligere kolonier alene skal ses som udslag af en ”postkolonial melankoli”, som reaktion mod globalisering, migration og ændrede geopolitiske og racemæssige magtbalancer, eller om der måske (også) kan være tale om en mere positiv bestræbelse på udsyn og møder over grænser.
‘Slagmark #75: Koloniale Aftryk’. Slagmark #75: Koloniale Aftryk, 2017.
Myter og realiteter i Jomfruøernes historie af Arnold Highfield
Dansk Vestindiens helte og heltinder af Rikke Lie Halberg & Bertha Rex Coley
Toldbodens nye dronning – den danske kolonialismes im/materielle aftryk af Emilie Paaske Drachmann
Tingene sat på plads: Om afrikaneres bidrag til etableringen af byen Christiansted på St. Croix af George F. Tyson
Museale formidlinger af fortiden som kolonimagt på danske og britiske museer af Vibe Nielsen
”Let’s Put the Background to the Foreground!” – nostalgi, turisme og iscenesættelse af en dansk kolonial fortid på de tidligere vestindiske øer af Pernille Østergaard Hansen
I kølvandet – levedygtighed og koloniale økologier ved havnen på St. Thomas af Nathalia Brichet & Frida Hastrup
Kærligheden og de druknedes land – interview med Tiphanie Yanique af Astrid Nonbo Andersen & Sine Jensen Smed
Rud, Søren. ‘Mod bedre vidende: Grønland og politisk-ideologisk historieskrivning’. Temp – tidsskrift for historie, vol. 9, no. 17, 17, 2018, pp. 145–152.
Kommentar til Thorkild Kjærgaards udlægning af forholdet mellem Danmark og Grønland.
Körber, Lill-Ann. ‘Danish Ex-Colony Travel: Paradise Discourse, Commemoration, and (Not Quite) Dark Tourism’. Scandinavian Studies, vol. 89, no. 4, [Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, University of Illinois Press], 2017, pp. 487–511.
Jørgensen, Helle. ‘Whose History? Transnational Cultural Heritage in Tranquebar’. Review of Development and Change, vol. 14, Dec. 2009, pp. 227–250.
Jørgensen, Helle. ‘Heritage Tourism in Tranquebar: Colonial Nostalgia or Postcolonial Encounter?’ Scandinavian Colonialism and the Rise of Modernity, Eds. Magdalena Naum and Jonas M. Nordin, 2013, 69–86.
Heritage tourism in a postcolonial context is often discussed as a practice of colonial nostalgia, or even neocolonialism. Yet the case of Tranquebar shows that a postcolonial interest in heritage may also promote dialogue and a more reflected reengagement with colonial history in the postcolonial present. The South Indian town of Tranquebar was a Danish trading colony in 1620–1845. This period plays a major role in the current development of Tranquebar, which has been declared the so-called heritage town to attract tourists. As the well-preserved townscape is being promoted as a material expression of Indo-Danish colonial history, it is increasingly drawn into question what this history means in a Danish as well as in an Indian perspective. This causes negotiations of the colonial history at several levels. In the encounter with the town and its residents, tourists have occasion to reflect on the meanings and the nature of the Danish colonial engagements with India and other parts of the world. Equally, Danish and Indian agents in the development of Tranquebar as a heritage town enter into a dialogue not only on the colonial past and its meanings, but also on the postcolonial present. Although the relations between India and the various European colonial powers of the past are far from uncontroversial, in the case of Tranquebar a mutual narrative strategy on the colonial Indo-Danish past is that of anti-conquest, a history which makes a mutual reengagement possible.
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.
Muasya, Gabriella Isadora Nørgaard, Noella Chituka Birisawa, and Tringa Berisha. ‘Denmark’s Innocent Colonial Narrative’. Kult, vol. 15, 2018, pp. 56–69.
This paper analyses the multifaceted expressions of white innocence in the educational game Historiedysten(2016) published by Danish Broadcasting Corporation(DR) in collaboration with The Museum of National History Frederiksborg Castle. This case study of Historiedystendisplays how a racial grammar embedded in the Danish physical and cultural archives continue to shape and (re)producea restricted, innocent Danish self-representation, as well as a dominant model of ‘thinking, feeling and speaking’ about the Danish colonial history.1The paper concludes that colonial power relations continue to transcend time and space via Historiedysten, proving that the downplaying of violence, oppression, and legitimisation of racism is intrinsic to Danish white innocence in the colonial narrative.
Odumosu, Temi. ‘Open Images or Open Wounds? Colonial Past and Present in the City of Copenhagen’. Openness: Politics, Practices, Poetics, Ed. Susan Kozel, Living Archives, 2016,
It started with the drawn head of an anonymous brown-skinned girl with a cornrow hairstyle, who piqued my curiosity as she began to appear randomly on a poster here and there, emblazoned on shopper bags under the arms of Danish students, and then in a visual cacophony at the co-operative supermarket where she took her place on the packs of the coffee brand she represented, and was used liberally to decorate ser- viettes, paper cups and even the faces of clocks. Drawn in profile with a small rounded nose, sullen eyes, and elegant high cheekbones, I remember thinking that she looked like me as a child: quiet, serious, and highly aware. The “Cirkel Kaffe Girl” was the first of many visual assaults that wrought havoc with my emotions and sens- es, whilst the months and years ensued. Her ubiquity as a design motif within a largely homogenous Europe- an culture agitated my embodied sensibilities; as a scholar who works on race and representation but more directly as a Black woman commencing the slow and gradual project of dwelling in a new city—attempting to make the unknown and unfamiliar into something approximating home. The following photographic chronicle seeks to express what was difficult to say openly in moments and encounters I experienced whilst roaming in Danish public space over the last three years (2012–2015). What you will see are my hurriedly captured snapshots of discomforting objects, signs or images that restaged colonial visual strategies, recalled the plantation or the slave ship, and reproduced anachronistic racial motifs that seemed to me entirely out of place in a modern and progressive city.
Odumosu, Temi. ‘What Lies Unspoken’. Third Text, vol. 33, no. 4–5, Routledge, Sept. 2019, pp. 615–629.
This article provides a reflective overview of What Lies Unspoken: Sounding the Colonial Archive, a sound intervention which I initiated and produced in collaboration with curators at the Statens Museum for Kunst and Royal Library of Denmark, whilst conducting artistic research within the Living Archives Research Project at Malmö University. The project was part of commemorative activities during 2017, marking the centennial of the sale and transfer of Denmark’s former Caribbean sugar colonies (St Croix, St Thomas, and St John) to the United States. The intervention aimed to address the uncomfortable silences surrounding institutional and societal engagements with colonial history in Denmark. In the article I describe how and under what particular cultural conditions this project was developed, share some of the thinking that underpinned its making, and finally reflect on the realities of what it takes for cultural heritage institutions to share interpretive power.
Olwig, Karen. ‘Narrating Deglobalization: Danish Perceptions of a Lost Empire’. Global Networks, vol. 3, June 2003, pp. 207–222.
According to Ulf Hannerz, globalization, viewed as a historic process of increasing interconnectedness, implies the possibility of an opposite process of deglobalization involving a delinking of interconnectedness. This study of Danish engagement in the Danish West Indies, a colony sold to the United States in 1917, exemplifies deglobalization. This case shows that while globalization can be reversed in terms of interconnectedness, it may continue unabated in stories of former global ventures. Indeed, the delinked Danish West Indian past has offered a rich, imagined resource for Danish narratives of past achievements on the global arena that bear little relation to the modest Danish contribution to colonial history. Globalization therefore does not just involve actual interconnectedness, but cultural interpretations of global engagement, past or present.
Danbolt, Mathias. ‘Retro Racism: Colonial Ignorance and Racialized Affective Consumption in Danish Public Culture’. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, vol. 7, no. 2, June 2017, pp. 105–113.
Racial representations on commodities in Danish supermarkets have been the subject of heated public debates about race and racism in recent years. Through an analysis of a 2014 media debate about the so-called ‘racist liquorice’, the article suggests that the fight for the right to consume racialized products sheds light on how ‘epistemologies of ignorance’ of race and colonialism operate in Denmark. Focusing on how questions of history, memory and nationhood feature in the media texts, the article introduces the concepts of retro racism and racialized affective consumption to capture the affective and historical dynamics at play in debates on racism in Denmark. While the former term points to how racism becomes positioned as something always already retrograde in a Danish context, the latter relates to how a rhetoric of pleasure and enjoyment gets mobilized in the sustaining of a whitewashed image of Danish national community.
Blaagaard, Bolette B. ‘Whose Freedom? Whose Memories? Commemorating Danish Colonialism in St. Croix’. Social Identities, vol. 17, no. 1, Routledge, Jan. 2011, pp. 61–72. Taylor and Francis+NEJM,
The article addresses the issues of cultural and archival historical representations as they are presented in Danish journalism about historical events taking place in the former colonies of Denmark, the current United States’ Virgin Islands (USVI). The (post)colonial relationship between Denmark and USVI has been overlooked by Danish and ’western’-based scholars for quite some time. The article presents the case of a journalistically represented reenactment in the USVI commemorating the emancipation of the Danish slaves on the three colonial islands St. John, St. Croix, and St. Thomas in 1848. The case shows that journalists often depend on documented historical accounts rather than cultural knowledge, myths and legends, that may tell a different (his)story. Engaging journalism with feminist theory and postcolonial theory, the article discusses how this bias determines who gets to speak and who is silenced, that is, journalistic objectivity. Finally the article seeks to develop another way of thinking about postcolonial memory constructions in journalistic representations.
Andersen, Astrid Nonbo. ‘“We Have Reconquered the Islands”: Figurations in Public Memories of Slavery and Colonialism in Denmark 1948–2012’. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, vol. 26, no. 1, Mar. 2013, pp. 57–76.
The fact that Denmark was deeply engaged in the practices of the slave trade and slavery from the seventeenth century to 1848 often goes unnoticed—even in Denmark. For this reason, a number of Danish scholars and artists have characterized Danish ignorance of the colonial past as repression. This article demonstrates that the colonial past has in fact never been repressed, but has instead been subject to figurations, as theorized by Olick (2007). The initial experiences of colonialism have been screened at different points in time rendering the past in versions very far from the actual historical events themselves. Recently, new claims for reparations for slavery and colonialism in the former Danish West Indies have challenged the existing notions of the colonial past in Denmark. These claims have not resulted in an official Danish politics of regret (Olick 2007) as witnessed in other former colonial states. Whereas, a radical break away from the earlier conceptions of the colonial past is demanded, instead new figurations and renarrations have been used to try to incorporate the new challenges to the historical imaginary into the older layers of memory without radically breaking away from it, creating somewhat surprising results that questions the notions of a uniform global memory and understanding of historical injustices.
Andersen, Astrid Nonbo. Ingen undskyldning : erindringer om Dansk Vestindien og kravet om erstatninger for slaveriet. Kbh.: Gyldendal, 2017.
Undersøger den nutidige brug af og relation til vores koloniale fortid på Jomfruøerne (Dansk Vestindien) med fokus på kravet om en kompensation, som efterkommere af slaverne har rejst mod Danmark.