Settler colonialism in the north: Mathias Danbolt, Bart Pushaw, ‘Institutional Acknowledgements: Introduction to the Special Issue “The Art of Nordic Colonialism”‘, Konsthistorisk tidskrift/Journal of Art History, 2023


Excerpt: Markerna marks one of the first attempts to introduce the practice of land acknowledgements in art institutions in Sápmi – and as such, it also marks an early attempt to frame the relationship between the institution and the land it operates on, as one defined by settler colonialism. The concept of settler colonialism has gained traction over the last few years as an analytical framework to address the nation states of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia’s claims of sovereignty over Sámi land, culture, and rights. The work of Sámi philosopher Rauna Kuokkanen on “Nordic settler colonialism” has been especially important in this regard. While a theoretical discussion of the framework of settler colonization is beyond the scope of this article, suffice it to say that colonialism and settler colonialism represent different, although related and often co-existing, modalities of political and cultural domination. Whereas colonialism is often used to describe the organized exploitation of people and resources by a foreign people in colonies established at a distance from the “homeland”, settler colonialism, by contrast, is not structured around a “master-servant relationship” based on ethnic difference. The main object of settler colonization is the control of land and territories through population, thus it is a regime “not [of] exploitation but replacement”, as Patrick Wolfe has argued.

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