’Married to the Daughters of the Country’: intermarriage and intimacy in Northwest Greenland ca.1750 to 1850 – Københavns Universitet

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Center for Komparative Kulturstudier > Afhandlinger, bøger og temanumre > ’Married to the Daught...

’Married to the Daughters of the Country’: intermarriage and intimacy in Northwest Greenland ca.1750 to 1850

PhD thesis by Inge Høst Seiding, 2013

Main Supervisor: Associate Professor lic.phil. Ole Marquardt, Department of Social and Cultural History, University of Greenland

Co-supervisors: Professor dr.phil. Esther Fihl and Associate Professor PhD Kirsten Thisted, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen.

The project is financed by the Commission for Scientific Research in Greenland (KVUG).

Assessment Committee:

Associate Professor Karen Langgård, Chair (University of Greenland)
Professor Gunlög Fur (Linneaus University)
Associate Professor Søren Thuesen (University of Copenhagen)

 

English summary

’Married to the Daughters of the Country’: intermarriage and intimacy in Northwest Greenland ca.1750 to 1850

’Married to the Daughters of the Country’ is a historical study of intermarriage, intimate relations and ’mixed’ families in the colonial context of Northwest Greenland from ca. 1750 to 1850. The thesis describes how marriages between Greenlandic women and European men, and the families they created, were perceived and, consequently, targeted by the Danish colonial administration.

The thesis presents two main perspectives based on a broad selection of source materials from the Danish colonial administration and Christian mission in Greenland: A broad perspective focused on administrative and regulatory discourse and practice, and a more narrow perspective on individuals, families and their life stories as described in a number of  micro-historical ’cases’. From these two main perspectives, the thesis documents the significance of intimacy and domesticity – both as key elements in colonial administration and as the framework of a cultural encounter. Thereby, it is shown how marriages and families across race and culture became focal points in the establishment and development of the colonial society. Furthermore, the family stories reflects how social spaces in the colonial context were created in a constant negotiation and renegotiation between an administration and its target population.

The thesis thereby situates the colonial history of Greenland as well as the Scandinavian colonialism in the broader global discussion about colonialism, in terms of intimacy, domesticity and acts of social categorization.

 

Danish summary 

’Married to the Daughters of the Country’ er en historisk undersøgelse af blandede ægteskaber, intimitet og familier en kolonial kontekst i Norvestgrønland fra ca. 1750 til 1850. Afhandlingen beskriver, hvordan ægteskaber mellem grønlandske kvinder og europæiske mænd samt de familier de skabte, opfattedes og omfattedes af den danske koloniadministration.

I afhandlingen lægges to hovedperspektiver på et omfattende kildematerialer fra den danske koloniadministration i Grønland: Et bredere perspektiv med fokus på administrativ og regulerende diskurs- og praksisformer samt et snævrere fokus på individer, familier og livsforløb i en række mikrohistorisk anlagte ’cases’. Fra disse to hovedperspektiver dokumenterer afhandlingen betydningen af intimitet og domesticitet– både som nøgleelementer i administrationen af de grønlandske kolonier og som rammen om et kulturmøde. Den viser således, hvordan ægteskaber og familier på tværs af race og kultur blev et markant  fokusområde i etableringen og udviklingen af et kolonisamfund. Samtidigt peger familiehistorierne også på, hvordan sociale råderum både lukkede og åbnede sig i den koloniale kontekst, og hvordan de blev til i en konstant forhandling og genforhandling mellem administration og dens målgruppe.

Afhandlingen placerer dermed den grønlandske kolonihistorie såvel som skandinavisk kolonialisme i en bredere global diskussion om kolonialisme i relation til intimitet, domesticering og social kategorisering.