International Web Community for Scandinavian Studies

Conference Programme

Back to All Events

Paul Greiner, Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography

(Re-)Formatting Global Spaces

- Nordic Geographical Societies and their Role in Processes of Spatialization and Territorialization, 1876-1914

  • Name: Paul Greiner
  • Academic credentials: Scandinavian Studies (B.A.), Global Studies (M.A.) studying at Roskilde University, research assistant at Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (Leipzig)

Abstract: Throughout the long 19th century, Scandinavian explorers like Fridtjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen, Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld or Knud Rasmussen made large scientific contributions to the field of geography – most notably by describing and mapping the polar regions. With their geographical findings and public activities, however, they did not only change the scientific understanding of hitherto unknown world regions but also played a major part in reconfiguring the political and cultural spaces, national self-perceptions and spatial imaginations within the “Nordic region” as seen against the “Arctic frontier”. 

The purpose of this presentation is to sketch some of the characteristics of these interwoven processes of spatialization by discussing major findings from a comparative study that – instead of simply focusing on individual scientists – analyzed the practices of three Scandinavian geographical societies. It will be argued that the Royal Danish Geographical Society (founded in 1876), the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (1877) and the Norwegian Geographical Society (1889) each played a fundamental role in initiating and communicating geographical research, that played an important role in defining Scandinavia's identity in a global world.

Theme: Border-Crossing: Migration, Travel, and Tourism