Dansk Vestindien – Københavns Universitet

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Dansk Vestindien

Foredrag med Vin & Videnskab

GISLI PALSSON (Island) Professor i antropologi, forfatter
ERIK GØBEL Seniorforsker i Rigsarkivet, historiker
HANNES SCHROEDER (Tyskland) Arkæolog, forsker i forhistorisk DNA
JENS SOELBERG Etnobotaniker, museumskurator

To af de fire foredrag vil være på engelsk

Vi markerer, at det den 31. marts 2017 er præcis 100 år siden, at Danmark overdrog Dansk Vestindien til USA, efter at Dannebrog havde vajet over øerne i 250 år. Fire forskere – en antropolog, en historiker, en arkæolog med speciale i gammelt DNA og en etnobotaniker – tager os med tilbage til kolonitiden og fortæller om deres studier af forskellige aspekter af Dansk Vestindien og indbyggernes historie, skæbne og traditionelle medicin.

Vestindien – en dansk koloni 1672–1917
ERIK GØBEL Historiker, seniorforsker i Rigsarkivet

Erik Gøbel har i 40 år forsket i vore gamle tropekoloniers historie. Han har siden 1999 ledet arbejdet med at registrere og tilgængeliggøre de 1,5 hyldekilometer vestindiske arkivalier i Rigsarkivet. Arbejdet er færdigt i jubilæumsåret 2017 på www.virgin-islands-history.org. Han vil fortælle om Dansk Vestindiens historie fra start til slut og om situationen i dag på de tre øer.

Tracing footsteps in the sand: Genetic perspectives on the population history of the Caribbean
HANNES SCHROEDER (Tyskland) Assistant professor, archaeologist, ancient DNA researcher, Natural history Museum of Denmark

The Caribbean was the last part of the Americas to be occupied by humans. It also provided the setting for the first colonial encounters between Europeans and Native Americans and the rise of plantation slavery. In this talk, Hannes Schroeder traces the population history of the Caribbean from a genetic point of view, starting with the early peopling of the Caribbean and ending with European colonization and the rise of African slavery in the Americas.

Biographies of the enslaved: The strange saga of Hans Jonathan (1784-1827) and its continued relevance
GISLI PALSSON (Island) Professor of anthropology, University of Iceland

In this talk, Gisli Palsson will discuss his biography on Hans Jonathan, “Manden som stjal sig selv” (a book scheduled to be published in a Danish translation in March 2017). This is the story of an enslaved man from St. Croix in the Danish West Indies who escaped to Eastern Iceland in 1802 where he settled and raised a family. While the lives of slaves are often invisible in archival material, some aspects are well documented, notably in the records of slave holders and court documents. A critical source for the present study was the legal documents of 1801–1802 which reestablished the status of Hans Jonathan as an enslaved person. Gisli Palsson will outline his interest in this unlikely saga, his struggle with available sources, his interpretation of some key events, and his understanding of the significance of the saga for the modern world.

Slavernes glemte medicin
JENS SOELBERG Ph.d., etnobotaniker, kurator for NaturMedicinsk Museum, Institut for Lægemiddeldesign og Farmakologi, Københavns Universitet

I Københavns støvede arkiver findes små perler af etnobotaniske optegnelser, som fortæller en anderledes positiv historie om vidensudveksling i det tidligere Dansk Vestindien. Interviews med medicinfolk på St. Croix i 2014 tyder dog på, at godt halvdelen af slavernes traditionelle medicin med tiden er gået tabt. Men hvad mere er; farmakologiske undersøgelser på Københavns Universitet viser, at nogle af de glemte planter virker! Jens Soelberg fortæller om sine etnobotaniske studier i den tidligere koloni.

I pausen serveres et glas vin.

Bag om foredragsholderne


ERIK GØBEL Ansat i 1979 som forskningsstipendiat ved Institut for Økonomisk Historie, Københavns Universitet. Siden 1981 seniorforsker i Rigsarkivet. I sin forskning har han især beskæftiget sig med økonomisk-sociale forhold, navnlig søfarts- og kolonihistorie. Han har publiceret flittigt både på dansk og udenlandsk, såvel strengt fagligt som populært. Hans seneste bog fra 2016 er The Danish Slave Trade and Its Abolition. Heri udnyttes det enestående gode danske arkivmateriale, som er optaget på UNESCO’s liste over den skrevne verdenskulturarv, The Memory of the World Register.


HANNES SCHROEDER Assistant professor at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. He has a BSc in Archaeology and Anthropology from UCL (2003) and a PhD (2009) from the University of Oxford, and his research focuses primarily on ancient DNA. He has worked on many projects in Europe and abroad and has a special interest in Caribbean archaeology and the early peopling of the Caribbean. He is teaching several courses on ancient DNA and human paleogenomics at the University of Copenhagen, and his research has been featured in Nature, Science, National Geographic, and on the BBC. From 2016-2019 he is also the PI on the CITIGEN project, which looks at the uses of genomic data in shaping public understandings of the past.


GISLI PALSSON Professor of Anthropology at the University of Iceland. He has a Ph.D. from The University of Manchester (1982). He has published extensively on a variety of issues, most recently Biosocial Becomings: Integrating Social and Biological Anthropology (2013, with Tim Ingold), and Can Science Resolve the Nature/Nurture Debate? (2016, with Margaret Lock). His latest book is a biography of an 18th century Danish-African slave who escaped to Iceland in 1802, The Man Who Stole Himself: The Slave Odyssey of Hans Jonathan (2016). Gisli was awarded the Rosenstiel Award from the University of Miami in 2000 and the Icelandic Asa Wright Award for Excellence in Research in 2014. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.


JENS SOELBERG Kurator for NaturMedicinsk Museum, Institut for Lægemiddeldesign og Farmakologi. Jens er uddannet biolog og har skrevet en tværfaglig ph.d. om glemt medicin i Danmark, Ghana og Vestindien. Som biolog og etnobotaniker har Jens udført feltarbejde i Sibiren, Kaukasus, Sydafrika, Afghanistan, Peru, Guatemala, Ghana og senest på de amerikanske Jomfruøer.