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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Northern voices telling histories of Danish (post) colonialism Cold-Ravnkilde, Sofie

Abstract

Within postcolonial theoretical debates of former imperial nations Denmark is rarely mentioned. This thesis examines three novels that represent the colonial legacy of Danish colonisation in the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland: Barbara by Faroese-Danish Jorgen-Frantz Jacobsen, The Prowler by Icelandic-Danish-Canadian Kristjana Gunnars, and Smilla's Sense of Snow by Danish Peter Hoeg. Frantz Fanon argues in Black Skin, White Masks that colonisation leads to an inferiority complex in the colonised as they are forced to internalise the norms and values of the colonisers. While Fanon 's claim stems from his race based theory, he argues that such psychological inferiority can be the consequence for any colonised people. Farther, Fanon suggests that Whiteness as a concept is perceived a marker of cultural demeanour and financial capability, that is, Whiteness is as much a class divider as a racial one. The novels unveil how material reality, language, colonial discourse, and, in the case of Smilla's Sense of Snow, race work together to strengthen the divide between coloniser and colonised and thus feed internalisation. Holding these novels up against history and the cultural importance of written traditions, this thesis displays how the Danish history of colonialism has had detrimental, yet drastically different, effects for Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland and continue to have so for the latter two.

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