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Lill-Ann Körber, University of Oslo

Swedish Exceptionalism Elsewhere

- «Paradise Tourism» to St. Barthélemy

  • Name: Lill-Ann Körber
  • Academic credentials: Postdoctoral Fellow at Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo. Dr. phil. in Scandinavian Studies (literary and cultural studies) from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Abstract: The paper focuses on one aspect of the aftermath of Swedish colonialism in the Caribbean: on Swedish tourist advertisement for trips to St. Barthélemy in the Lesser Antilles (under Swedish rule 1784-1878). Tourism and tourism advertising can be seen as complicit with colonial and capitalist practices. This complicity has specific implications in this case, where the destination is a former colony and a place within the system of the transatlantic slave trade. Which images are conveyed by tourism discourse about Sweden as a former colonial power, about St. Barthélemy as “paradise destination,” about the island’s Swedishness, and about Sweden’s relationship with its former colony?

Drawing on experiences from a recent research trip to the island, I will raise the question of how narratives of the exceptionality of St. Barthélemy in the Caribbean context converge with Swedish self-images. On a more general level, the aim of the paper is to show how the study of postcolonies can contribute to gaining new perspectives on Scandinavia, and on the memory and representation of Scandinavian history.

Theme: Scandinavia in the Eyes of the World