Greenland – Denmark 1721-2021

Call for Panels:

Aalborg University 
14-15 August 2020


We are glad to announce that the conference Greenland – Denmark 1721-2021

will take place 14-15 August 2020

and will be hosted by Aalborg University, Denmark


As we approach the year 2021, Greenland and Denmark can look back at 300 years of colonization, resistance and complacency, continuous cultural encounters and relationship-building, cooperation and conflict. Whereas in Denmark the bicentennial year 1921 occasioned colonial self-congratulation, the tri-centennial anniversary arguably calls for reflection, assessment and re-evaluation of past and current relations – not least to enable both societies to better conceive of new ways of relating to each other in the years ahead. Recent governments in Greenland have initiated commissions on both reconciliation with the past and constitutions for the future. The resonance of both initiatives with the broader Greenlandic public, however, remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Danish public debates oscillate between serious attempts at introspection and finding ways to re-relate, uncritical celebration of cultural difference and self-complacent paternalistic concern, and animosity. In between, new generations of Greenlanders and Danes rediscover each other anew, sometimes in the spirit of creative coexistence, but often in the shadow of received wisdom and prejudice.

While non-scholarly debate and encounters thus continue to reaffirm or reconstruct aspects of the Greenland-Denmark relationship, this is a most pertinent time also for scholars in the human and social sciences to come together and add some academic perspective: Aiming to serve as a platform for a tri-centennial stocktaking, CIRCLA and AAU Arctic invite panel sessions and papers presenting and discussing analyses from across the human and social sciences for an August 2020 conference on ‘GREENLAND-DENMARK 1721-2021’.

The conference offers itself for panels presenting and discussing thematic and disciplinary evaluations, as well as on-going projects within the overall theme – hopefully resulting in a series of individual and collective publications.

The organizers particularly encourage young scholars to initiate panel sessions, and all panel session organizers to consider involving promising, advanced students. While the core focus is on Greenland-Denmark relations, panel sessions which go beyond these to discuss Greenland in comparative perspective or as part of a region in a highly interconnected world, are also welcome. Keynote lectures will complete the programme.

Currently, prospective panel session organizers are encouraged to submit proposals via Easychair. Proposals should include a 250-word abstract and title for the panel; name and contact details of the convenor, as well as initial ideas for contributors and/or paper titles. Panel topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • The distribution of agency in writing the histories of Greenland and the Greenland/Denmark relation. 
  • The role of scientific disciplines and projects in the Greenland/Denmark relation. 
  • The everyday politics and 'ethnic relations' of Kalaalliit minorities in Denmark and Qallunaat minorities in Greenland. 
  • Collective social and political identities in Greenland; indigenous, local, national, pan-, post-, counter-, sub- and hybrids. 
  • Dynamics in and of the political and bureaucratic system of the Rigsfællesskabet
  • Development and experiments with democracy and governance in Greenland. 
  • The constellation of Danish and Greenlandic law in Greenland. 
  • The role of Danes and Denmark - and alternatives - in the development of business and industries in Greenland. 
  • The legitimization of economic and social inequalities in Greenland. 
  • Processes of occupation, education, health, and social work in Greenland. 
  • The rights to as well as the development, production, and consumption of human, renewable, and non-renewable resources in Greenland. 
  • The role of arts, literature and cultural genres in the negotiation of Greenlandic/Danish relations. 
  • Danish language as a factor in the development of Greenlandic language and language policies. 
  • The use, interpretation and representation of religious and cultural heritages of various phases of Greenlandic history. 
  • The past and present economic relation between Greenland and Denmark. 
  • The roles of neighbors and superpowers in shaping the Greenland/Denmark relation. 
  • The role of the media in shaping Danish images of Greenland and in the development of Greenlandic images of its future. 
  • The role of Greenland and Greenlanders as well as Danish activities in Greenland in shaping Danish culture, economy, society, and identity narratives. 
  • Directions, destinations and inspirations for Greenlandic projects for independence and decolonization.

Important dates:

1 January Deadline for panel proposals
1 March 2019 Confirmation of accept of panel proposals
1st call for paper abstracts (to complete panels)
1 September 2019   Deadline for paper abstracts (to complete panels)
1 October 2019  Confirmation of accept of papers (to complete panels)
2nd call for paper abstracts (freestanding)
1 February 2020  Deadline for paper abstracts (freestanding)
1 March 2020 Confirmation of accept of papers (freestanding)
1 April 2020  Deadline for participant registration
1 August 2020  Confirmation of conference program


Conference coordinator Ulrik Pram Gad

Conference coordinator Robert Chr. Thomsen

Conference coordinator Lill Rastad Bjørst

Conference secretary Marianne Ellersgaard