“We must be happy that the times are different now”: Shaping public memory of Danish colonial history in Popular Culture

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

As early as 1998, the matter of an official apology to 22 Greenlandic children, who in 1951 as part of a state-sponsored program (“the Experiment”) were sent to Denmark on a civilization mission, was raised politically. But it was not until March 2022 that Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen decided to give one. In this article, we discuss how the colonial relationship with Greenland is presented to a contemporary Danish audience in the Danish motion picture, The Experiment (2010), and in the Netflix/DBC-produced fourth season of the Danish political drama, Borgen (2022). These popular cultural artefacts, we claim, are significant to the political debate in two interrelated ways: Firstly, they contribute to a wider awareness of the way Danish authorities treated Greenland in the past as well as of challenges in contemporary relations. They “open the books” and thus exemplify a fourth and additional source in the politics of official apologies (Nobles 2008). Secondly, they narrate, discuss and renegotiate the relationship between adopted civic norms and their implementation into historical and present-day practice and, as a result, refigure public memory (Phillips 2004; Phillips and Reyes 2011).
TidsskriftNational Identities
StatusAccepteret/In press - 4 apr. 2024

ID: 346303811