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Greenland in German National Socialist Travel Literature

27.11.2019

The Department of Cultural & Social History invites to a public lecture with literary scholar Daniel Nagelstutz (Göttingen/Germany): "Representations of Greenlanders in German National Socialist Travel Literature".

With five Greenland expeditions within a decade, German scientists in the 1930s proved to be strongly engaged in Polar research. Austrian and German researchers also joined international Greenland expeditions such as the 7th Thule Expedition or the Oxford University Greenland Expedition. The travel writing resulting from these expeditions reflected the vital shift in power that had taken place in Germany. With Greenland being one of the most popular topics of travel literature in 1930s Nazi Germany, these travel books are, however, mostly forgotten today.

In his lecture, Daniel Nagelstutz explores the stereotyped representation of Greenlanders in hardly examined National Socialist travel literature. He asks: Did representations of Greenlanders as “noble savages” reflect the National Socialist ideology? Did Greenlanders in these depictions even embody the utopian concept of the “New National Socialist Man”? By stereotyping the Greenlanders as potential role models, Nagelstutz argues, travel writers sought to encourage their readers to learn from the alleged “man of nature”. Contrary to exoticist and racist doctrines asserting the superiority of the so-called German race, National Socialist travel writers depicted Greenlanders as a possible “alter ego” – thereby recalling the Nietzschean concept of the "übermensch".

Daniel Nagelstutz is a Ph.D.-candidate at the Department of Scandinavian Studies at Georg-August University of Göttingen (Germany) and a research fellow of the “German Academic Scholarship Foundation”. In his doctoral dissertation, which the lecture draws on, he examines the representations of Greenlanders in German fiction and travel literature since 1933.

  • When: 27 November 2019, at 18.30 - 20.30
  • Where: auditorium at Ilisimatusarfik

The lecture will be held in English.

There will be coffee and cake and time for questions and discussions.

Everyone is welcome.



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