Workshop: Decolonize Nordic Nature

Performance workshop, 19-21 April 2023, Neskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland
Decolonize Nordic Nature

In the decolonization processes taking place in the Nordic region, the future of planetary life is crucial and critical. Contemporary accounts of the region place place at the heart of their accounts, relating it to urgent geopolitical, such as eco-system degradation, mass extinction, activism and Indigenous rights. The epistemologies preserved by the Greenlandic Inuit and Sámi communities, once actively suppressed and rendered almost voiceless, are now shown to maintain a wealth of environmental practices and ways of living vital to sustainable development. Nevertheless, having long been "unthinkable" in mainstream scholarship, the role of colonialism in Nordic cultures, much less in the devastation of Nordic nature, is slow to gain acceptance. If anything, Nordic nature since the Romantic period has been a source of utopian narratives underwriting the myth of an exceptionalist Nordic identity. In this context, nature becomes "the other" and is easily decoupled from culture; it is then either romanticized and stereotyped or simply denied. The situation is one that calls for decolonial indigenization, a reorientation of knowledge production based on balancing power relations and transforming the academy completely.

The short-term aim of this workshop is the preparation of a volume of research articles, essays and photographic essays based on the workshop presentations. The workshop asks how "nature" may be rethought-both historically and in the present day-from the perspective of Nordic subalternity. Walter Mignolo thought of "subalternity" as alternative logics, ways of life and modes of being subsisting within coloniality and modernity, yet indicating ways of thinking and acting beyond coloniality and modernity. The workshop seeks to voice subaltern perspectives in the Nordic region, in order to better think with its decolonizing processes in a time of planetary emergency. We bring together experimental, risk-taking methodologies and immersive approaches focusing on practice and collective thinking outside conventional disciplinary boundaries. The workshop is organized as a performance-conference, with academic papers juxtaposed with two presentations by artists and writers. 

The workshop is co-organised by Sigríður Guðmarsdóttir (University of Iceland) and Dr Simone Kotva (University of Oslo) for ECODISTURB, with funding from UiO:NORDIC and ReNEW (Reimagining Norden in an Evolving World).

For more information and program visit event page: Decolonize Nordic Nature