Text: You and I, we and they

Over the weekend I attended a conference in Lund called ”Encountering the ’Other’ – Understanding Oneself: Colonialism, Ethnic Diversity and Everyday Life in Early Modern Sweden and New Sweden”. It opened in the afternoon of 8 November, when an accompanying exhibition was also inaugurated at the Lund University Library, and continued for the next two days.

The conference and exhibition were organized on the occasion of the 375th anniversary of the shortlived Swedish colony of New Sweden in present-day New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, with the aim to situate this enterprise in a global context of cultural encounters, colonialism and everyday material practices. The two days of individual sessions, some of them co-organized with a parallel conference at the University of Delaware, covered a very broad and diverse range of aspects related to these general themes. It was an intense schedule, full of interesting presentations and discussions, and when we finally reached the end of the event (and of the weekend) I think many were in the state one should be in after a good conference: exhausted but reinvigorated with new ideas and questions.

I had the privilege of delivering the opening address for the conference and exhibition. What follows after the link below is the full text of the keynote, which is also available here as a PDF (11 pp./96 Kb).

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