Aalborg University, AAU Arctic


political science


Ulrik Pram Gad

PhD, Associate Professor, født 1973


Imagining Independence - Greenland's Postcolonial Politics of Comparison (IMAGINE PoCo)

Hvad handler dit projekt om?

Tiny population. Huge territory. Extreme conditions. It is far from obvious where to find inspiration when Greenland aims for independence. Hence, a wide variety of im- and explicit comparisons in political debate, public policy, and scholarly analysis shape how Greenland imagines independence. This project shows how application, rejection and forgetting of categories for comparison closes off some futures, making others selfevident.

Hvordan opstod din interesse for dit forskningsfelt?

Decades ago, - as far too young man with far too little knowledge of Greenland - I was hired by the Government of Greenland. My four years of 'field work' in the Cabinet Secretariat and the Office of Foreign Affairs was so fascinating, that I will probably never fully escape. Later, I found theories from various social sciences and empirical parallels in unexpected places which gave me a better understanding of the postcolonial paradoxes of Greenlandic nationalism. Now I hope that this project will allow me, in better ways, to both speak back to theories and talk to Greenlanders about the paradoxes of how they discuss the future of their country.

Hvad er de forskningsmæssige udfordringer og perspektiver ved dit projekt?

Our greatest challenge is that we will be analyzing a 'moving target', since both climate, geopolitics and Greenlandic nationalism are changing the Arctic fast, these days. If we get it right, and show how the politics of comparison work in the extreme Greenlandic case, chances are that we will open a new research agenda across disciplines on how the politics of comparison shape nation building in decolonization and similar periods of fundamental rethinking of identities.

Hvilke perspektiver vurderer du selv, at din forskning på sigt kan have for det omgivende samfund?

Understanding more fully the paradoxes of comparing oneself varously to, i.a., indigenous peoples, to Nordic welfare states, and to small island development states will be a great chance for Greenland to rethink basic assumptions about where its society is heading. For other stakeholders - NGOs, companies, and governments from Copenhagen via Reykjavik and Washington to Beijing - getting a better picture of what is important in Greenlandic politics will be valuable, when we all try to manouever the new Arctic that emerges from under the melting ice.

Hvad vil det betyde for din forskerkarriere, at du indgår i Sapere Aude-programmet?

The Sapere Aude grant will allow me to dedicate myself more fully to my core research interest, while hooking up with the most inspiring colleagues in Denmark, Greenland and abroad to unfold and refine my thoughts.

Lidt om mennesket bag forskeren

When not juggling research, teaching, journalists, and other university priorities - and when not communting between Aalborg University's campuses - I try to spend as much time as possible outdoor with my kids. Hopefully, I can soon bring them to hike from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut. Before they built that road. And to marvel on the Ilulissat Icefiorth. Before our CO2 emissions melt it away. 




Amtsgymnasiet i Roskilde