Moravian and Inuit landscapes in West Greenland – transculturation of landscapes and material cultures – University of Copenhagen

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Moravian and Inuit landscapes in West Greenland – transculturation of landscapes and material cultures

Lecture by Peter Andreas Toft, Museum Inspector at the National Museum of Denmark.

Abstract

From 1733 to 1900 Moravian missionaries settled in West Greenland to mission and teach. These activities resulted in local mission and settlement layouts following Moravian principles and at the same time adapting to the local landscape and Inuit culture.
 
Although prohibited from organized trade by the Danish state, the Moravian missionaries did exchange European commodities for Inuit artifacts. This exchange did, in some cases, also result in an Inuit industry creating souvenirs for the missionaries. At the same time local Inuit material culture was influenced by the Moravian presence, e.g. introduction of written language, birth numbers, goats and new crafts such as basket weaving.

In this paper the transculturation of landscape use and material culture of Moravians and Inuit will be demonstrated by cases of recent field work done during the Steatite Objects Analysis Project in 2007 and the People of all times project in 2012/13. The paper will explore spatial data, objects, oral tradition and written sources from sites at Nuuk, Uummannaq, Akunnaat and Kangillermiut.

NOTE: The lecture will be held in Danish..

This is the eleventh event of the spring semester in the series Research Friday at Archeology.