A place in the world

On Friday and Saturday 9-10 May 2014, the Research Network “Denmark and the New North Atlantic”, in collaboration with the Jón Sigurðsson Professorship, EDDA – Center of Excellence, The Institute of International Affairs (HÍ), the National Museum of Iceland and the Carlsberg Foundation, will host a symposium titled ”A Place in the World. Iceland in the Imperial World Order and the New North Atlantic Region.” The symposium will take place at the National Museum of Iceland at 15:00-16:45 on 9 May and at 10:00-18:00 on 10 May. Free admittance. Download the conference programme here.

The international research network “Denmark and the New North Atlantic” brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars for exploring the cultural and historical relations that have influenced Icelandic national narratives in a regional context. The symposium addresses this mental and historical landscape in an interdisciplinary forum, with special focus on the position of Iceland in the imperial world order and the Danish realm as well as the development of an understanding of the North Atlantic as a culturally and politically constructed region form the nineteenth century and till the present.

Focus will be on Iceland’s shifting status and relations within the region with reference to post-, crypto-, neo-colonial and geopolitical insights and outlooks as well as referring to the role of nationalism in shaping historical understandings and changing perceptions of the region’s interrelations and Iceland’s place in the world.


Friday May 9, National Museum of Iceland


  • Uffe Østergaard (Copenhagen Business School), keynote speaker: Legacies of Empire in the present Danish nation state
  • Guðmundur Hálfdánarson (University of Iceland), keynote speaker: A Province, Colony or Dependency?


Saturday May 10, National Museum of Iceland


  • Sverrir Jakobsson: The Medieval Nordic Commonwealth and the „Danish Tongue“
  • Jón Yngvi Jóhannsson: Representing Iceland. National identity and Pan Scandinavianism in Gunnar Gunnarsson‘s political writings
  • Sumarliði Ísleifsson: The ambivalence of Iceland
  • Ann-Sofie N. Gremaud: Fabulous Iceland – a place next to Neverland?

12.15-13.15: Lunch Break


  • Íris Ellenberger: Danish immigrants in the republic of Iceland. Colonial history, cultural heritage and assimilation.
  • Katla Kjartansdóttir: Playing the Icelander: obscure heritage and exotic images of the North within Norden
  • Ólafur Rastrick: Placing Iceland on the Anthropometric Map: National Character, Physical Features and the Allure of Numbers
  • Kristín Loftsdóttir: “Innocent babble”: Affective Identities and Racialization in Iceland

15.15- 16.00: Coffee break


  • Kristinn Schram: Northwest-bound: making and mobilising a ‘West-Nordic Arctic’
  • Valur Ingimundarson: Narrating a “New Frontier”: Arctic Identities and Icelandic Foreign Policy in the 21st Century


  • Kirsten Thisted (University of Copenhagen), keynote speaker: Building a “home” for the region. The role of Nordatlantens Brygge (The North Atlantic House in Copenhagen) in the construction of the New Nordic North-Atlantic.

17.45: Reception