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Vol. 3: The Promised Land Christian Cultures in Modern Scandinavia (ca. 1750 - ca. 1920)
Representations and Conceptualizations of the Self in the Textual and Material Culture of Western Scandinavia, c. 800-1500
The Fish Lands
OPEN ACCESS
German trade with Iceland, Shetland and the Faroe Islands in the late 15th and 16th Century
History and State of Research

Abstract

Research on antisemitism in Sweden can be divided into two categories: one which has antisemitism as a phenomenon as its object of study, and one where antisemitism constitutes part of the findings but where the object of study is something else (bureaucracies, organizations, etc.). No university currently has a centre for Antisemitism Studies and at centres for Racism Studies research on antisemitism is non-existent. One critical issue is how antisemitism is defined, since some definitions tend only to recognize propagandistic and violent examples; another is the popular notion that antisemitism is “un-Swedish” and therefore not part of Swedish culture. Based on these factors combined, this article argues that antisemitism is a neglected field of research in Sweden.

Abstract

In this paper I ask why a predominantly Evangelical Lutheran North Atlantic society has given Jews and Israel such a central position and role in local and national discussions on religion and politics, culture and society. How do current societal changes in the Faroes, associated with newfound cultural diversity and religious hybridity, affect the special Faroese-Israeli connection? This paper, based on a selection of written media and literary accounts as sources of information, focuses on the period since the end of the twentieth century, but links this period to the whole post-Second World War era in some of its discussions. While the Faroes might be less secular than other Nordic countries, we can see that its religious and cultural identities are dynamic, adapting to new societal premises, and rekindling Faroe Islanders’ passion for Jerusalem.

Abstract

There has never been a Jewish community as such in Greenland, but over the years there have been Jewish visitors who have lived there for a period of time: journalists, nurses, meteorologists, and American and Danish servicemen. Furthermore, the first vessel in the Israeli navy began life as an American coastguard ship that patrolled the Greenlandic coast. This article tells some of these stories and concludes with a short addendum on (the lack of) antisemitism in Greenland.

Abstract

This article deals with antisemitism in Europe and post-Holocaust Sweden and Denmark specifically. The idea that it is always “the same old antisemitism” that pops up and “shows its ugly face” does not find support in this study. Instead, we distinguish between three different kinds of contemporary antisemitisms: Classic antisemitism, Aufklärungsantisemitismus, and Israel-derived antisemitism. Our findings suggest that each of these antisemitisms is inspired by different underlying “philosophies,” and that they are carried by different social groups and manifested in different ways. In the Scandinavian countries today, we find that there is less classic antisemitism, much more Aufklärungsantisemitismus, and a relatively stronger presence of Israel-derived antisemitism. In our analysis this specifically Scandinavian pattern of antisemitisms is closely related to the highly developed processes of modernization in the Scandinavian countries on the one hand and the relatively large numbers of recently arrived immigrants from the Middle East on the other. This appears to imply that antisemitism based on racial prejudices is losing ground, as is antisemitism based on religious convictions. However, according to the European Union Agency For Fundamental Rights (FRA) in Antisemitism: Overview of Data Available in the European Union 2007-2017 (Luxembourg: Luxembourg Publications Office of the European Union, 2018), the incidence of violent antisemitic attacks seems to be on the rise. These typically emanate from small pockets of individuals in the population who share an image of all Jews being accomplices to whatever the State of Israel does. Considering how the processes of modernization operate it is assumed that other countries in Europe will follow a similar trajectory. Rationalization, secularization, and individuation will also come to penetrate these societies and weaken notions of “race” and “religion” as springboards for antisemitism. Thus, tendencies towards Aufklärungsantisemitismus will be strengthened. If integrating and getting rid of the marginalization and condescending treatment of its newly arrived Muslim inhabitants does not succeed, Israel-derived antisemitism can be expected to thrive. The pattern of antisemitisms in Denmark and Sweden might be a preview of what antisemitisms in twenty-first-century Europe could come to look like.

Abstract

This article on researching the portrayal of Jews in medieval Denmark and Sweden argues for the importance of the period for understanding the breadth, nuances, and history of anti-Jewish stereotypes in Scandinavia. I discuss the rather scant previous research on Jews in Old Danish and Old Swedish (East Norse) literature and medieval art. The lack of scholarship is somewhat surprising given the volume of sources available and the many types of investigation they invite. I suggest a number of themes - the question of absent-presence, the role of the Church, and the medieval legacy - that could prove fruitful for future research and provide questions and suggestions for how to approach the material.