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From Siam to Greenland: Danish Economic Imperialism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. (Arcum)
2016 (English)In: Journal of world history, ISSN 1045-6007, E-ISSN 1527-8050, Vol. 27, no 4, 619-640 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article analyzes the Danish Greenland consortium’s plans at the turn to the twentieth century in the context of the stakeholders’ Asian ventures and worldwide business interests. In so doing, it offers an in-depth study of archival material concerning this specific episode in Danish economic imperialism, which connected Asia with Europe. It also assesses the transnational entanglements of the key actors involved in the Greenland consortium, widening the historiographical perspective on their plans for the colony, which to date have been confined to a side note in Danish historical research. Drawing on a cross-reading of economic and political history while focusing on imperial narratives bring into relief the importance of the globalization of the Danish private economy at the turn to the twentieth century. In this sense, the world-historical analytical framework revises the established historiographical narrative on Greenland’s modernization in the early twentieth century by highlighting the relevance of transnational developments to the discourse of modernization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 27, no 4, 619-640 p.
National Category
History
Research subject
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-131989DOI: 10.1353/jwh.2016.0129ISI: 000395698400002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-131989DiVA: diva2:1077585
Available from: 2017-02-28 Created: 2017-02-28 Last updated: 2017-11-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Greenland's future: narratives of natural resource development in the 1900s until the 1960s
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Greenland's future: narratives of natural resource development in the 1900s until the 1960s
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This doctoral thesis identifies and analyzes narratives of Greenland's future that emerged in the context of developing and modernizing the dependency's natural resources industries in the 1900s until the 1960s. After almost two centuries of Danish colonial rule, the turn of the 20th century witnessed a profound change in Greenland's governance. Although contested at first, the notion of cultural progress increasingly linked developing a modern industry to a productive economy under Danish auspices. Ideas of modernity that connected rationalities of the market with political power and science were unparalleled in the colonial discourse on Greenland's future. How were the development of Greenland's natural resource industries and its role in Danish governance debated? Which narratives emerged in this context? As the studies in this compilation thesis suggest, the rationalities of science, markets, and power became entangled in an unprecedented way during these decades, creating new ways to imagine Greenland's future.

The first paper analyzes the application of a private stakeholder group of Copenhagen's financial and economic elite for access to Greenland as a private, for-profit venture to extract and trade with the colony's living resources in 1905. The motif of an Arctic scramble was constructed through the authority of science, still resonating in the debate on rare earth mining today. The second paper identifies the business relationships between the group's members, connecting major Danish financial institutes and private economic interests in the late 19th and early 20th century. The third paper focuses on the commercialization of Greenlandic fisheries in the 1910s until the late 1920s and the fisheries scientist Adolf Severin Jensen (1866-1953). Jensen's work is an example of how applied sciences connected both scientific and political agendas, carried out in a colonial setting. The fourth paper focuses on the narrative analysis of (Danish-language) Greenlandic newspaper coverage of Qullissat between 1942 and 1968. Representations of the coal mine and nearby settlement on Greenland's west coast, which were closed down in 1972, are at the center of this study. While the coal mine was presented as a Danish success to establish an independent energy supply and to introduce modernization measures, it was presented as a Greenlandic failure to adapt to modern demands of economic productivity in the years leading up to its closure. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2017. 70 p.
Keyword
Greenland, modernization, 20th-century history, colonial history, narrative, history of science and ideas
National Category
History of Ideas
Research subject
History Of Sciences and Ideas
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-142073 (URN)978-91-7601-774-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-12-15, Hörsal F, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-24 Created: 2017-11-20 Last updated: 2017-11-28Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
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