Between Pride and Shame: Postcolonial Renegotiations of Greenland as Part of Danish Cultural Heritage

The project is funded by the Augustinus Foundation as part of the program "Research in Cultural Heritage". The project examines Danish collective and personal memory culture about Greenland, in a time when pride in Greenland as part of Danish cultural heritage is under pressure due to the postcolonial approach to Danish-Greenlandic relations.

The idea that Denmark has protected and supported the Greenlanders has helped shape the Danish self-image as a peaceful and charitable, but also modern, developed and capable people. However, during the current Greenlandic-Danish decolonizing paradigm, the narrative of Denmark as Greenland's benefactor has come under pressure.  The Danish media bring case after case that proves former colonial administrative practices to be problematic, and previous pride in the Danish involvement turns into shame. The project investigates how this is felt, understood and negotiated in Danish historiography and fiction, in practice at museums and archives, as well as in personal memory culture and oral storytelling about Greenland.


Between missionary and monster: Mourning the loss of Danish supremacy over Greenland

 Kirsten Thisted studies post-2009 (the year of the Act on Greenland Self-Government) interpretations of Danish involvement in Greenland in three different genres: historiography, historical novels and personal narratives collected from Danes with close relations to Greenland, often including intimate interethnic relations.

Archiving the intimate: Transforming emotional memory practices under new paradigms

Anne Mette Randrup Jørgensen examines how emotional memory practices change under impression of the current Greenlandic-Danish decolonizing paradigm. Interviews with former and potential donors and participant observation at archives will inform the analysis of the dynamics of emotional memory practices in memory communities. What new narrative spaces emerge in light of current developments? Does this, in turn, change archival practices –and how?

Renegotiated: Danish literature as a stage for imagining Danish-Greenlandic relations

Inspired by postcritical approaches, Emilie Dybdal explores how contemporary literature has created a stage for renegotiating Danish-Greenlandic relations. The study consists of close readings of selected novels as well as interviews and participant observations in order to study readers’ uses of Danish literature about Greenland.

Exhibition and digital communication

Drawing on the project’s research, communication consultant Naja Kløve Moltved curates an exhibition on material memory practices at the Arctic Institute in Copenhagen, as well as an online exhibition disseminating the issues and results of the project.  




Name Title Phone E-mail
Dybdal, Emilie PhD Fellow +4535335524 E-mail
Thisted, Kirsten Associate Professor +4520311992 E-mail


Jørgensen, Anne Mette Randrup, National Museum of Denmark

Moltved, Naja Kløve, Cultural consultant


Picture: Augustinus Fonden

Project period: September 2022 until September 2025

PI: Associate professor Kirsten Thisted