Environmental change and the current political and industrial interests in the resources of the Arctic have resulted in a battle of representations of the peoples and landscapes of the region.
At this year’s conference of the American Association of Scandinavian studies hosted at Yale University in New Haven 13-15 March Anna Stenport, Lill-Ann Körber and Scott McKenzie hosted the Arctic stream “The Arctic Today” with participants from contemporary literature, political science, art history and Scandinavian studies.
The joint project Denmark and the New North Atlantic was represented in different streams at the conference by Ebbe Volquardsen, Elisabeth Oxfeldt and myself.
At this year’s conference there were plenty of interesting papers and perspectives on everything from Medieval literature to Scandinavian design. This wide range of themes is the advantage as well as the disadvantage of the SASS format. Among the paper presentations that I had the pleasure of listening to were: Jon Helt Haarder and Malene Breunig on intimacy and the rejection of intimacy in modern Danish literature, art and design, Redi Koobak’s paper on the art of Anna-Stina Treumund that questions chrononormativity and the problem of casting non-western artists in a western post-colonial temporality of “being too late”. Another interesting paper was Henning Warp’s discussion of the Arctic pastoral idyll as a way of evoking environmental engagement.
My own paper “Icelandic futures: Arctic dreams and geographies of crisis” was based on two forthcoming articles (2014).
My point of departure is the increased representation of the Arctic as a geography of the future and increased geopolitical influence as presented in the political sphere: