Baker, Catherine.. The contingencies of whiteness: Gendered/racialized global dynamics of security narratives. Security Dialogue, 52(1_suppl), 2021, 124–132.
Lapiņa, Linda, ‘Diversity Tourists’? Tracing Whiteness through Affective Encounters with Diversity in a Gentrifying District in Copenhagen, Social & Cultural Geography, 23.4 (2022), 578–97.
This article develops the diversity tourist as an analytical figure to explore how middle-class whiteness emerges through encounters with racialized diversity in gentrifying urban space. Drawing on interviews with white middle-class Danish residents in Copenhagen’s Nordvest district, I examine how whiteness takes shape through affective ambivalence and negotiations of proximity and distance. My informants live in Nordvest, but see themselves as privileged tourists. They perceive diverse Others as true locals whose presence not only stimulates and entertains them, but also facilitates self-development, increased awareness and inclusive pedagogy. Moreover, the local spaces and people of Nordvest represent a different or superior reality and promise an escape from white, gentrified Copenhagen. I collect these practices in the figure of the diversity tourist to show how a particular brand of Danish middle-class whiteness emerges through embracing diversity and reminiscing over one’s own privileges vis-à-vis racialized, less advantaged people and spaces. I examine how, despite attempts at transcendence, this whiteness feels claustrophobic, finding itself in a limbo, trapped by its own gaze. The figure of diversity tourist contributes to studies of whiteness and gentrification, capturing how whiteness and intersectional privilege are enlaced in space and fueled by affective ambivalence.
Suárez-Krabbe, Julia, Relinking as Healing. On Crisis, Whiteness and the Existential Dimensions of Decolonization, Globalizations, 20.2 (2023), 304–15
In this paper, I present my reading of two paths of existence in texts written by white Danes concerned with crisis. The first obeys the politics of purity and involves an existential commitment to status quo. I call this path whiteness collapsing into itself, inasmuch it remains locked in the confines of the politics of purity, makes impossible both delinking from modernity-coloniality, and relinking, as the process of delving and dwelling in the wider processes of becoming, which I have learnt to know as Mother Earth. The second text attests a decolonizing practice of collapsing whiteness that is creolizing and engages in relinking as healing. I conclude by addressing the importance of deciding to decide to relinking as a radical practice of cultivation of sociality and relationality rooted in specific places which, however, are interconnected precisely because social and relational. Therein, I argue, is the healing.
Yang, Ahrong, Child-Friendly Racism? An Ethnographical Study on Children’s Racialized Becoming in a Race-Blind Context, Dissertation, Aalborg University, 2021)
What makes race and issues concerning racialization primarily
seem a concern for adults? What are the implications of
disconnecting race and children ‒ keeping race and racialization
from children? This dissertation is dedicated to an investigation
of children’s racialized becoming in a Danish context, and in
doing so, by foregrounding the racialized lived experiences
shared by children aged 10-13. The context in which the
children’s racialized lived experiences become, I argue, is
situated in a historically challenged space of denial, evasiveness,
and discomfort towards issues on race. Hence, the racialized
lived experiences shared by the children become within a
context that works against these experiences. It is within this
space of mutual resistance that this research takes its point of
In getting closer to understanding the racialized becoming of
children, the study is guided by two research interests: 1)
Analytically privileging race as an important social category,
by/and 2) foregrounding the children’s racially lived
experiences. In foregrounding lived experiences as access to
knowledge production, the dissertation finds theoretical
inspiration in postcolonialism, critical race theory, critical
childhood studies, and queer and black feminist perspectives.
What especially draws me towards these insights is how they
offer alternative perspectives on how to understand both
children and race as lived, meaningful categories, however,
socially constructive and performative ones.
The project is based on an ethnographical study with children
attending 4th to 6th grade from spring 2018 to fall 2019. The study
was made up by participant observations, qualitative interviews
with children, informal conversations with teachers at the
schools, and workshops with the children that were designed for
this project. Workshops were based on visual methodologies and
material made by the children.
In particular, the dissertation aims at reflecting on and offering
alternative perspectives into understanding race and childhood
that challenge the idea of children being non-knowledgeable and
in need of protection against issues of race. By queering
children’s racialized becoming, I refer to a non-binary
Child-Friendly Racism? perspective on the child/adult relation, which takes seriously the children’s racialized experiences by also approaching the in-
/outside of the body and emotions non-binarily.
The study shows how the children’s racialized experiences
become within and are expressed through resistance towards
discourses working to suppress these experiences. Manifested
through two article contributions, the research specifically
examines, in the first article, how the racially minoritized
children’s becoming is not only informed by their past
experiences with race and racism. Race is also experienced as
expected futures ‒ what I call racialized forecasting. What the
concept springs from and is trying to grasp is how race becomes
within struggles that the racially minoritized children shared
when trying to make sense of their experiences.
The second article analytically unpacks the notions of ‘child-
friendliness’ through examining the seemingly complex
intertwinement and interconnectedness of race and children,
which I find to be within the concept of innocence. The
dissertation operates with innocence from two different
perspectives: First, in terms of racialized innocence. Second, in
terms of child-ed innocence. Innocence, I argue, is the
intersecting point of children and race: An intersection that
currently works to disconnect children and race. The discourses
of innocence that work to maintain ideas of child(-ed)
innocence, and which furthermore make questioning children’s
innocence seem almost outrageous, I stress, are connected to the
same notions that maintain race-blindness and processes that
discursively have made and sustained the silencing and erasure
of race as a lived category.
It is my hope that this research can give rise to further reflection
on the importance of how race as a social category informs the
lives of children and their feelings of belonging. Both racially
minoritized and white children.
Hvad gør race og racialiserede problemstillinger til et
anliggende, der ofte kun er forbeholdt voksnes virkelighed?
Hvad er implikationerne ved at afkoble og skærme børn fra race
og racialisering? Denne afhandling undersøger børns
racialiserede tilblivelse (racialized becoming) i en dansk
kontekst med udgangspunkt i racialiserede erfaringer fra børn i
alderen 10-13. Jeg argumenterer for, at den kontekst, hvori
børnenes erfaringer bliver til, er en kontekst, som historisk er
situeret i benægtelse, undvigelser og ubehag omkring
spørgsmål, der involverer race og racialisering. Altså bliver
børnenes racialiserede levede erfaringer til i en kontekst, der
modarbejder og underkender deres oplevelser. Det er en
nysgerrighed for denne modstridende kontekst, som dette
projekt udspringer fra.
For at komme nærmere en forståelse af børns racialiserede
tilblivelse har to forskningsinteresser styret projektet: 1)
Analytisk at privilegere race som en betydningsfuld social
kategori ved at 2) tage analytisk udgangspunkt i børnenes
racialiserede levede erfaringer. Afhandlingen har sit analytiske
fokus på levede erfaringer som adgang til vidensproduktion og
er inspireret af teoretiske perspektiver som postkolonialisme,
critical race theory, kritiske barndomsstudier, queer- og black
feminism. Jeg er særligt inspireret af, hvordan disse perspektiver
tilbyder alternative indsigter til at forstå barn og race som
konstruerede og performative — men alligevel betydningsfulde
— sociale kategorier. Projektet er baseret på et etnografisk studie foretaget fra foråret 2018 til efteråret 2019 med børn i 4. til 6. klasse. Studiet består
af deltagerobservationer, kvalitative interviews med børn,
uformelle samtaler med lærere og workshops med børnene.
Disse workshops var designet til projektet og baseret på visuelle
metoder og materiale lavet af børnene.
I særdeleshed er afhandlingens sigte at reflektere over og tilbyde
alternative perspektiver på race og barndom: Perspektiver, der
udfordrer dikotomiske forestillinger om børn som uvidende,
uskyldige og ufærdige mennesker, der bør beskyttes mod race
indtil de en dag er gamle nok til at erfare ”voksenlivets
realiteter.” Med queering children’s racialized becoming
Child-Friendly Racism? refererer jeg til non-binære perspektiver, som tager børnenes
(racialiserede) erfaringer alvorligt og gør op med binære
forståelser af barn vs. voksen og krop vs. emotionalitet
Studiet demonstrerer, hvordan børnenes racialiserede erfaringer
bliver til igennem modstand mod raceblinde diskurser:
Diskurser, der forsøger at ignorere og undertrykke disse
oplevelser. I afhandlingens to artikler undersøger afhandlingen,
blandt andet, hvordan de racialt minoriserede børns tilblivelse
ikke kun informeres af deres tidligere erfaringer med race og
racisme, men også gennem forventede fremtidige oplevelser.
Dette undersøges i afhandlingens ene artikel gennem begrebet
racialized forecasting, der beskriver hvordan børnene
fremskriver deres levede erfaringer som racialiserede og
forestiller sig fremtidige situationer. Begrebet tager
udgangspunkt i, hvordan race bliver til gennem følelser af
modstand: Følelser, som børnene fortæller om, når de forsøger
at skabe mening ud fra deres erfaringer — levede såvel som
Afhandlingens anden artikel koncentrerer sig om ideen om
’child-friendliness’ [børnevenlighed] — et udtryk, som bringes
op af en gruppe børn i deres interne forhandlinger om race, og
hvad de må tale om som børn. Artiklen fremanalyserer den
komplekse forbundenhed og sammenfiltring mellem race og
børn: En forbundenhed, som jeg vil mene findes i og omkring
uskyldsbegrebet. Afhandlingen opererer med uskyld fra to
forskellige perspektiver: Som racialiseret uskyld (racialized
innocence) og børnegjort uskyld (child-ed innocence).
Uskyldsbegrebet som et skæringspunkt mellem race og barn er
med til at producere diskurser, som frakobler barn fra race – og
race fra barn. De diskursive forestillinger om uskyld, som er med
til at opretholde forestillinger om børns uskyld (eller børnegjort
uskyld), argumenterer jeg for, er direkte forbundet til de
forestillinger, som opretholder raceblindhed: De processer, der
diskursivt har været med til at fortie, nedtone og slette race som
Mit ønske er, at denne forskning kan være med til at give
anledning til yderligere refleksion over- og dialog om
vigtigheden af, hvordan race som levet kategori er med til at
konstruere og forme børns liv og deres oplevelser af at høre til.
For både racialt minoriserede og hvide børn.
Ivenäs, Sabina. ‘White Like Me: Whiteness in Scandinavian Transnational Adoption Literature’. Scandinavian Studies, vol. 89, no. 2, [Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, University of Illinois Press], 2017, pp. 240–265.
From introduction: This paper problematizes the concept of whiteness by applying it in the context of the Scandinavian transnational/transracial adoptee. What is unique about the Scandinavian transracial adoptee is that theyalmost exclusively grow up and live in white segregated middle- class environments (Hübinette 2007). Nevertheless, Scandinavian trans-racial adoptees blend in seamlessly with white Scandinavian society in terms of language, culture, and behavior. at the same time, in contrast to transracial adoptees in more diverse countries such as the such as the United States, Canada, France, Australia, and the Netherlands, the Scandinavian transracial adoptee non-white body becomes extremely concrete (Hübinette 2007, 117). In this paper, which conducts a critical reading of Scandinavian transnational adoption autofiction, I consider how Scandinavian transracial adoptees negotiate the fact that they, as non-white individuals are raised in, and thereby indoctrinated into, the whiteness norm. In line with Dyer’s perspective on how whiteness is studied within white Western culture, this paper sets out to explore how self-representation of whiteness is depicted in Scandinavian trans-national adoptee autofiction. How do the Scandinavian transnational/transracial adoptees represent themselves as white in literary texts?
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.
Keskinen, Suvi, Salla Tuori, Sara Irni, and Diana Mulinari, editors. Complying With Colonialism: Gender, Race and Ethnicity in the Nordic Region. 1st edition, Farnham, England ; Burlington, VT: Routledge, 2009
Complying with Colonialism presents a complex analysis of the habitual weak regard attributed to the colonial ties of Nordic Countries. It introduces the concept of ’colonial complicity’ to explain the diversity through which northern European countries continue to take part in (post)colonial processes. The volume combines a new perspective on the analysis of Europe and colonialism, whilst offering new insights for feminist and postcolonial studies by examining how gender equality is linked to ’European values’, thus often European superiority. With an international team of experts ranging from various disciplinary backgrounds, this volume will appeal not only to academics and scholars within postcolonial sociology, social theory, cultural studies, ethnicity, gender and feminist thought, but also cultural geographers, and those working in the fields of welfare, politics and International Relations. Policy makers and governmental researchers will also find this to be an invaluable source.
CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Postcolonialism and the Nordic Models of Welfare and Gender Diana Mulinari, Sari Irni, Suvi Keskinen and Salla Tuori
PART I: Postcolonial Histories/Postcolonial Presents
CHAPTER 2 Colonial Complicity: The ‘Postcolonial’ in a Nordic Context Ulla Vuorela
CHAPTER 3 The Nordic Colonial Mind Mai Palmberg
CHAPTER 4 The Flipside of My Passport: Myths of Origin and Genealogy of White Supremacy in the Mediated Social Genetic Imaginary Bolette Blaagaard
CHAPTER 5 The Promise of the ‘Nordic’ and Its Reality in the South: The Experiences of Mexican Workers as Members of the ‘Volvo Family’ Diana Mulinari and Nora Räthzel
CHAPTER 6 Stranger or Family Member? Reproducing Postcolonial Power Relations Johanna Latvala
CHAPTER 7 Historical Legacies and Neo-colonial Forms of Power? A Postcolonial Reading of the Bosnian Diaspora Laura Huttunen
PART II: Welfare State and Its ‘Others’
CHAPTER 8 When Racism Becomes Individualised: Experiences of Racialisation among Adult Adoptees and Adoptive Parents of Sweden Tobias Hübinette and Carina Tigervall
CHAPTER 9 Contradicting the ‘Prostitution Stigma’: Narratives of Russian Migrant Women Living in Norway Jana Sverdljuk
CHAPTER 10 Postcolonial and Queer Readings of ‘Migrant Families’ in the Context of Multicultural Work Salla Tuori
CHAPTER 11 “Experience is a National Asset”: A Postcolonial Reading of Ageing in the Labour Market Sari Irni
CHAPTER 12 Licorice Boys and Female Coffee Beans: Representations of Colonial Complicity in Finnish Visual Culture Leena-Maija Rossi
PART III: Doing Nation and Gender: The Civilising Mission “at Home”
CHAPTER 13 Guiding Migrants to the Realm of Gender Equality Jaana Vuori
CHAPTER 14 Institutional Nationalism and Orientalised Others in Parental Education Nanna Brink Larsen CHAPTER 15 Whose Feminism? Whose Emancipation? Chialing Yang
CHAPTER 16 “Honour”-Related Violence and Nordic Nation-Building Suvi Keskinen.
Li, Jin Hui, Louise Yung Nielsen, Marlene Spanger, and Lene Myong. ‘De andre tegn på kroppen’. Kvinder, Køn & Forskning, vol. 28, no. 1–2, Foreningen for Kønsforskning, Oct. 2019, pp. 99–108.
Dette essay udspringer af vores erfaringer med at blive forvekslet med hinanden i konteksten af dansk akademia. At blive forvekslet er selvfølgelig ikke en erfaring, der er forbeholdt østasiatiske kroppe som vores. Vores afsæt er den racialiserende forveksling, som produceres gennem et hvidt akademisk blik, der både udvisker forskellighed og bestemmer hvilke former for forskellighed, der skal tillægges vægt og betydning. Vi anvender dermed forvekslingerne som en indgang til at reflektere over, hvordan race og hvidhed fungerer som organiserende principper i akademia, og på hvilke måder forskellige former for racialiseringsprocesser gør sig gældende i vores arbejdsliv.
Hvenegård-Lassen, Kirsten, and Serena Maurer. ‘Bodies and Boundaries’ in Whiteness and Postcolonialism in the Nordic Region: Exceptionalism, Migrant Others and National Identities, Eds. Kristín Loftsdóttir and Lars Jensen, Routledge, 2016.
Hvenegård-Lassen, Kirsten, and Dorthe Staunæs. ‘Elefanten i (bede)rummet. Raciale forsvindingsnumre, stemningspolitik og idiomatisk diffraktion’. Kvinder, Køn & Forskning, no. 1–2, 1–2, July 2019, pp. 44–57.
The elephant in the room. Racial disappearance acts, mood politics and idiomatic diffraction summarizes a particular way of handling social and cultural problems. It is about social taboos that are affectively charged: even if everybody knows the elephant is there, they ignore it. In this article, we are grappling with disappearance acts related to race and racialization at a white-dominated Danish university. Race is simultaneously there and not there in organizational policies and practices preoccupied with governing diversity. Using a recent debate over ‘prayer rooms’ in educational institutions, we develop a methodology (‘idiomatic diffraction’) sensitive towards race and racialization in contexts dominated by whiteness. Leaning on Karen Barad, we argue that diffraction may open up a space from where light can be explored in the shadows of what Sylvia Wynter names ‘Man’s Project’.
Keskinen, Suvi. ‘Securitized Intimacies, Welfare State and the “Other” Family’. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, vol. 24, no. 2, Dec. 2017, pp. 154–177.
Analyzing policy documents that aim to tackle violence in minority families, the article examines how normativities related to family, ethnicity, and race are created and challenged. The article develops an analysis of how neoliberal governmentality operates in two Nordic welfare societies. It shows how the governing of ethnicized and racialized minority families is built on three logics: the normalizing family, normative (liberal) individuality, and securitized border rhetoric. Identifying three policy frames (violence, immigration, and security frames), the article argues that the presented ideas of family life and individuality are based on normative whiteness.
Lapiņa, Linda. ‘Recruited into Danishness? Affective Autoethnography of Passing as Danish’. European Journal of Women’s Studies, vol. 25, no. 1, SAGE Publications Ltd, Feb. 2018, pp. 56–70.
This article critically examines emergence of Danishness via an autoethnography of passing as Danish. Drawing on feminist scholarship, the author conceptualizes passing as an embodied, affective and discursive relation; simultaneously spontaneous and laboured, fleeting and solid, emergent and constrained by past becomings. Once positioned as a young female uneducated Eastern European love migrant in Denmark, the author now usually passes as an accomplished migrant. However, conducting fieldwork in Copenhagen, she found herself passing as Danish. These shifting positionings from (un)wanted migrant to un(re)marked majority comprised a unique boundary position for tracing Danishness. Her body and Danishness became aligned, while other bodies were ejected. These fluctuating (dis)alignments highlighted potentialities of proximity to Danishness. Using autoethnography and memory work, the author develops an affective methodology. The encounters’ embodied affective circulations are simultaneously collective capacities illuminating material-discursive-affective contours of Danishness. The article makes a theoretical and methodological contribution to feminist-inspired research on race, whiteness, embodiment and affect in Nordic and European contexts.
Lapiņa, Linda, and Mantė Vertelytė. ‘“Eastern European”, Yes, but How? Autoethnographic Accounts of Differentiated Whiteness’. NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, vol. 28, no. 3, Routledge, July 2020, pp. 237–250.
This article examines how intersecting markers of difference shape differentiated whiteness. In so doing, it contributes to scholarship on whiteness and racialization. The authors draw on autoethnographic vignettes from fieldwork in Copenhagen to analyse the emergence of similar-yet-divergent researcher and migrant positionalities. Both authors are female researchers from Baltic countries living in Denmark and often perceived as Eastern Europeans—as not-quite-white and as “Europe’s ‘internal others’”. Both of us conducted fieldwork in the same district of Copenhagen. Mantė carried out research on friendships among teenagersn a racially diverse public school and in youth activity clubs. Linda explored social inclusion and exclusion in contested urban spaces. However, our researcher positionalities played out differently. We analyse how ambiguous, contested and relational notions of (Eastern) Europeanness, together with intersecting racialized, classed and gendered tropes of Eastern European migration, made themselves manifest in our positionings and movements. Through an intersectional analysis of Eastern European racialized positionalities, our discussion of differentiated whiteness highlights how whiteness is intersectionally constituted, multiple and mouldable. These findings serve to nuance research on hegemonic whiteness in the Nordic setting.
Larsen, Jeppe. ‘Talking about Radicalization’. Nordic Journal of Criminology, vol. 21, Oct. 2019, pp. 1–18.
This article seeks to build a bridge between the criminological tradition of research on hard-to-reach groups and sensitive topics and the tradition of critical research on radicalization. As a result of the hard-to-reach character of so-called radicals themselves, the article analyzes interview experiences with ‘professionals’ working within the prevention of radicalization and other actors. This article discusses the experiences connected to the preparation and unfolding of the interviews on the sensitive topic of radicalization and illustrates how interviews and questions designed to gather knowledge about radicalization processes among Muslims in Denmark often became a discussion about the concept of radicalization itself. This article shows that making use of the concept of radicalization is problematic in interviews as it is embedded in the Danish political discourse on immigration, Muslims and Islam. This article reflects on researcher positionality and how being a white ethnic Danish researcher might have caused an underestimation of how problematic the concept is to people directly involved with it, and that speaking from such a researcher positionality also can make the concept of radicalization seem even more problematic.
Loftsdóttir, Kristín, and Lars Jensen, editors. Whiteness and Postcolonialism in the Nordic Region: Exceptionalism, Migrant Others and National Identities. 1st edition, F arnham, Surrey, England ; Burlington, VT: Routledge, 2012. This book examines the influence of imperialism and colonialism on the formation of national identities in the Nordic countries, exploring the manner in which contemporary discourses in Nordic society are rendered meaningful or obscured by references to past events and tropes related to the practices and ideologies of colonialism. Against the background of Nordic ‘exceptionalism’, it explores the manner in which the interwoven racial, gendered and nationalistic ideologies associated with the colonial project form part of contemporary Nordic identities. An important challenge to national identities that can become increasingly inward looking, Whiteness and Postcolonialism in the Nordic Region sheds light on the ways in which certain notions and structural inequalities, understood as residue from the colonial period, become recreated or projected onto different groups. Presenting a variety of case studies drawn from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Greenland, Denmark and Iceland, this book will be of interest to scholars across the social sciences and humanities conducting research in the fields of race and ethnicity, identity and belonging, media representations of ‘the other’ and colonialism and postcolonialism.
Contents: Introduction: Nordic exceptionalism and Nordic ’others’, Kristin Loftsdottir and Lars Jensen; Colonial discourse and ambivalence: Norwegian participants on the colonial arena in South Africa, Erlend Eidsvik; Colonialism, racism and exceptionalism, Christina Petterson; ’Words that wound’: Swedish Whiteness and its inability to accommodate minority experiences, Tobias Hubinette; Belonging and the Icelandic others: situating Icelandic identity in a postcolobial context, KristÃin Loftsdottir; Transnational influences, gender equality and violence in Muslim families, Suvi Keskinen; Reading history through Finnish exceptionalism, Anna Rastas; Danishness as Whiteness in crisis: emerging post-imperial and development aid anxieties, Lars Jensen; Bodies and boundaries, Kirsten Hvenegård-Lassen and Serena Maurer; Intimacy with the Danish nation-state: my partner, the Danish state and I – a case study of family reunification policy in Denmark, Linda Lund Pedersen; Aesthetics and ethnicity: the role of boundaries in contemporary Sami and Tornedalian art, Anne Heith; Index.
Lykke, Nina. ‘Transversal Dialogues on Intersectionality, Socialist Feminism and Epistemologies of Ignorance’. NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, vol. 28, no. 3, Routledge, July 2020, pp. 197–210.
Through a personalized story, anchored in historical reflections on the formative years of feminist research in the Nordic context in the early 1970s, the article engages in transversal conversations. The focus is dissonances and resonances between intersectional feminisms and socialist feminisms, and their critiques of monocategorical (neo)liberal feminisms. The method is transversal dialoguing, implying that participants in politically conflicted conversations, shift between “rooting” (situating their own stakes along the lines of feminist epistemologies of situated knowledges) and “shifting” (seriously trying to imagine what it takes to inhabit the situated perspective of interlocutors). A starting point for the article’s transversal conversations is recent critiques of white feminist intersectionality research in Nordic and broader European contexts, claimed to neoliberalize and whitewash intersectionality. Shifting to the perspective of the critics, the author takes responsibility for her stakes in epistemologies of white ignorance. A historical reflection on her becoming a socialist feminist in the context of New Left students’ and feminist movements in Denmark in the aftermath of the students’ revolts of 1968 is used as prism to a discussion of socialist feminisms in the Nordic context in the 1970s, and their paradoxes of being attentive to class, while entangled in classic marxism’s eurocentrism and epistemologies of white ignorance. To dig further into the question of genealogies of leftwing epistemologies of ignorance, characterizing Nordic socialist feminism in the 1970s (and haunting European socialism more generally), the article critically rereads a piece of the authors’ research from the 1970s—an analysis of the work of socialist feminist, Alexandra Kollontaj, and her role in the Russian revolution. Rooting, the author suggests that the epistemologies of white ignorance in Nordic feminist research rather than emerging from monocategoricality and (neo) neoliberalism, as the critics suggest, should be sought after through a critical scrutiny of leftwing versions of eurocentrism.
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.
Myong, Lene, and Mons Bissenbakker. ‘Love Without Borders? White Transraciality in Danish Migration Activism’. Cultural Studies, vol. 30, no. 1, Jan. 2016, pp. 129–146.
Since 2000, Denmark has imposed some of the strictest immigration laws in Europe. Consequently, family reunification has become increasingly difficult for immigrants as well as for Danish citizens. In the fall of 2010, the Danish family reunification laws became subject to criticism and protest by a citizens’ initiative called ‘Love without Borders’ (LWB). The article investigates how LWB managed to generate political momentum around love: an affect which seems to promise inclusion, liberation and togetherness for those directly affected by the laws as well as those attempting to change the laws. Yet the idealized version of love promoted by LWB happened to take the form of romantic intimacy predominantly consisting of straight, young and white-brown couples oriented towards reproduction. Our main argument is that despite its good intentions of supporting migration the activist campaign ‘Love without Borders’ ends up supporting whiteness as the body through which love must flow. As an indicator of the racialized discourses informing LWB’s activism the article introduces the concept of white transraciality. Thus, to LWB love seems to promise affective ties to the nation, to the future and to the political system in ways that sustain white hegemony. Building mainly on Sara Ahmed’s and Laurent Berlant’s reflections on love as cultural politics the article analyzes posters, viral videos and newspaper debates in its discussion of the promises and pitfalls of love as an affective political tool.
Jane Jin Kaisen, ed. Loving Belinda, Forlaget * [asterisk], 2015.
The Loving Belinda project began in 2006 with the video Adopting Belinda in which Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, a supposedly Asian-American couple in Minnesota, are being interviewed by a Danish TV host for a series on Danish heritage because they have just adopted Belinda, a white girl from Denmark. Everything appears ordinary with the exception that the racial and cultural dynamics are reversed.
The Loving Belinda Project employs the mockumentary genre, appropriating documentary features to destabilize reality with subversive effect. By staging and reversing the racial “order” within transnational adoption, the works expose some of the uneven economic, racial, and cultural relations of power that are embedded within the practice but that tend to remain unspoken.
The videos Revisiting the Andersons and Loving Belinda as well as the photograph The Andersons from 2015,portray how the family is coping now whenBelinda is nine years old in the midst of changing discourses around transnational adoption.
In the Loving Belinda publication, the fictional universe is contextualized by conversations between the individuals involved in the project, whom in reality are all engaged in critical discourse around transnational adoption, anti-racism and whiteness in Scandinavia.
Revisiting the Andersons
Tobias Hübinette & Jane Jin Kaisen: Transnational Adoption in the Context of Colonial Repression, Race Relations, and the Right-wing Turn in Scandinavia,
Morten Goll & Jane Jin Kaisen: Reflections on Art, Asylum Politics, Racism, and Transnational Adoption
Lene Myong & Jane Jin Kaisen: The Emergence of Adoption Critiques among Transnational Adoptees in Denmark
ESSAYS / PRESENTATIONS
Marianne Ping Huang: Artistic Research as Critique in Jane Jin Kaisen’s Loving Belinda
Louise Wolthers: Framing the Migrant Body
Tone Olaf Nielsen: Curating Anti-Racist, Pro-Migration & Decolonial Projects
Myong, Lene, and Michael Nebeling Petersen. ‘(U)levelige slægtskaber. En analyse af filmen “Rosa Morena”’. K&K – Kultur og Klasse, vol. 40, no. 113, 113, June 2012, pp. 119–132. tidsskrift.dk,
The Danish movie Rosa Morena (2010) tells an unusual story about kinship in which a white homosexual Danish man adopts a child born to a poor black Brazilian woman. Using a theoretical framework of biopolitics and affective labour the article highlights how the male homosexual figure is cast as heteronormative and white in order to gain cultural intelligibility as a parent and thus to become the bearer of a liveable kinship. The casting rests on the affective and reproductive labour of the Brazilian birth mother who is portrayed as an unsuited parent through a colonial discourse steeped in sexualized and racialized imagery. A specific distribution of affect, where anger turns into gratefulness fixates and relegates the birth mother to a state of living dead, and thus she becomes the bearer of an unliveable kinship. This economy of life and death constructs transnational adoption as a vital event in a Foucauldian sense. The adoption, simultaneously, folds a white male homosexual population into life and targets a racialized and poor population as always already dead.
Nebeling Petersen, Michael, and Lene Myong. ‘(Un)Liveabilities: Homonationalism and Transnational Adoption’. Sexualities, vol. 18, no. 3, SAGE Publications Ltd, Mar. 2015, pp. 329–345.
Rosa Morena tells a story about kinship in which a white homosexual Danish man adopts a child born to a black poor Brazilian woman. Using a theoretical framework of biopolitics and affective labour the article highlights how the male homosexual figure is being cast as heteronormative and white in order to become intelligible as a parent and the bearer of liveable kinship. The casting rests on the affective and reproductive labour of the birth mother who is portrayed as an unsuitable parent through a colonial discourse steeped in sexualized and racialized imagery. A specific distribution of affect fixates and relegates the birth mother to a state of living dead, and thus she becomes the bearer of an unliveable kinship.
Pedersen, Linda Lund. ‘Kønsforskel Og Neutralitet – Danske Tørklædedebatter Set Gennem Luce Irigarays Teoriom Kønsforskel Og Den Anden’. Kvinder, Køn & Forskning, no. 4, 4, Dec. 2008.
This article adopts a philosophical approach to Danish media and parliamentary debates on Muslim headscarves. Through the use of Luce Irigaray’s theories on sexual difference it suggests a new perspective. It argues that the debates have generally failed to recognize the other (i.e. the Muslim veiled woman) as the other. Ultimately this is due to dominant (white, Christian) culture being unable to accept and understand difference – in particular sexual difference as its foundation. In the meeting with the other, the other is reduced to the same.
Skadegård, M. C., and Iben Jensen. ‘“There Is Nothing Wrong with Being a Mulatto”: Structural Discrimination and Racialised Belonging in Denmark’. Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol. 39, no. 4, July 2018, pp. 451–465.
This article addresses structural discrimination in everyday lives of non-white Danes and Danes of mixed racial heritage. We explore how discrimination (implicit, underlying, and discursive) is expressed and resisted in seemingly neutral interactions. Using structural discrimination as our framework, we look at how this type of discrimination contributes to the racialization of national belonging in Danish contexts. In particular, we examine how notions of ‘Danishness’ are discursively linked to constructions of whiteness. Further, we discuss some challenges that arise for racially ‘mixed’ and other racialized Danes in regard to constructions of Danishness. Such constructions, we argue, rely on (and express) racialized understandings and discriminatory assumptions which explicitly and implicitly influence the experience of (and potential for), belonging within constructions of Danishness. Our findings suggest that particular dilemmas arise in the lives of Danes with mixed racial heritage and other non-white Danes.
Khawaja, Iram. ‘Anger, Shame and Whiteness: On Using Memory Work as an Educational Tool for Reflections on Racialization, Otherness and Privilege’. Nordic Journal of Social Research, 2020.
The article draws on years of experience teaching otherness, racialization and whiteness on a postgraduate level in Copenhagen, and aims to analyze how it is possible to facilitate constructive discussions on race, whiteness and otherness utilizing memory work. The article is structured around three main points of relevance, which are connected to the main challenges of teaching sensitive topics such as racism, whiteness and privilege in majoritized class rooms. Challenges such as the need to negotiate teacher authority and manage the affective intensities in the class room. The aim of the article is to unfold a form of ‘engaged pedagogical’ strategy for critical reflections on racialization and whiteness in academia highlighting the need to move towards new ways of understanding knowledge production, teacher positionality and lived life as part of curriculum.
Moffat, Katie Louise. Crisis Politics in Contemporary Nordic Film Culture: Representing Race and Ethnicity in a Transforming Europe. PhD Dissertation. University of Stirling, Nov. 2018,
Identity politics in the Nordic region, that is, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, is in crisis. While these five small nations have garnered a reputation for their perceived exceptionalism, liberal progressiveness and strong welfare-orientated agendas, over the last thirty years, immigration into the Nordic region has increased significantly, and the political and cultural debates over ethnicity and belonging have become more intensely polarised. However, the film cultures of these five small nations have responded to these developments in complex and multifaceted ways giving rise to a broad calibre of film texts that both challenge and reinforce dominant perceptions of national identity.
This thesis attempts to provide some insight into how wider political and ideological shifts have influenced onscreen representations of ethnicity and race over the last three decades. It does so by exploring a range of genres including comedy, social realism, art-house and documentary cinema using close textual and thematic analysis to unearth a region wrestling with the influences of globalisation. The thesis also situates this analysis in relation to film policies relevant to each respective national Nordic film institute, all of whom play an essential role in dictating the direction of Nordic film and media culture.
Consequently, this research shows that representations of ethnic identity are shaped by ethnocentric perceptions of Nordic whiteness where ‘ethnic Nordic’ characters typically turn the experiences and perspectives of ethnic minorities into their own. However, it also demonstrates how a diversification of production channels, media policy directives and an emerging generation of filmmakers are challenging fixed perceptions of ethnic and racial identities and their relationships with conventional notions of ‘Nordicness.’ These contributions enhance the current scholarship on Nordic film culture by foregrounding the politics of race and ethnicity and further developing the theoretical argument for locating Nordic cinema in the global, transnational context.