The year 2013 marks the 375th anniversary of the establishment of the colony of New Sweden. Founded in 1638 along the Delaware River in Northeastern America, the settlement was hoped to become a profitable station for tobacco and beaver pelt trade, a rich source for valuable metals and natural resources, and an overseas extension of the Kingdom of Sweden. With its socially and culturally mixed population, transplanted social tensions, traditions and languages, New Sweden became a miniature version of 17th century Sweden. A version that was transformed, nonetheless, by the colonial settings, the environmental particularities of the continent, as well as through the encounter with several ‘others’: peoples, objects, and practices.
The anniversary is an occasion to revisit the history of the colony and contemporary Sweden. The focus of this conference is the construction of otherness in the early modern Sweden and New Sweden, as well as the cultural consequences of meeting with ‘the Other’. We would like to consider the ethnic diversity of 17th century Sweden and the Swedish colonies, together with the ways otherness and sameness were perceived and created materially and ideologically. We would also like to pay attention to the inanimate ‘Other’; new objects and ideas coming to Sweden from abroad and those encountered in the colony, and the ways they were perceived and appropriated.
Stressing the otherness requires attention to what constitutes the norm and the familiar. Therefore, we would also like to consider the fabrics of everyday life in the 17th century Sweden; the cultural norms and customs, and the material conditions that dictated the conduct of daily life in various geographical landscapes and social environments of early modern Sweden.
We invite papers that deal with:
· The definition of otherness and sameness in the early modern period. The impact of travel, migration and colonial expansion in the North and outside of Europe on the construction of the ‘Other’;
· The history and archaeology of New Sweden, especially the perception of America and its inhabitants, and the construction of identities in the colonial settings;
· Archaeological and historical studies of life in towns and in the countryside in 17th century Sweden, focusing on regional differences in material practices, consumption patterns as well as the access to and perception of foreign commodities in urban and rural settings;
· Immigration to early modern Sweden the position and attitudes towards various ethnic groups in contemporary society, their assimilation and strategies of maintaining difference.
Interested participants should submit a title and an abstract by May 1, 2013 to Magdalena Naum .
The conference is organized in collaboration with the University of Delaware, the Swedish-American Museum in Philadelphia, the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation, and The Council of Northeast Historical Archaeology. It will be synchronized with a North American conference on “Encountering ‘Others’ in New Sweden”: Comparative Perspectives from the Material World” organized by the University of Delaware. The afternoon sessions from Lund will be broadcasted live in the University of Delaware conference venues and in the evenings we will receive the sessions organized by our American colleagues. The sessions will be recorded and available to the public through the conference’s webpage.