Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

NSIDC Cryosphere Seminar

The Cultural History of Greenland: Why It Matters to Modern Geopolitics by Dr. Mathias Nordvig, Head of Nordic Studies, CU Boulder

Greenland has been part of the Danish commonwealth since 1397. The country became an official colony in 1721 and was later given status as a county in 1953. In 1979, Greenland was officially recognized as a (incipient) sovereign nation by Denmark, when they received "home rule," and, finally, in 2009, Greenland was -at least on paper- recognized as an equal partner in a formal commonwealth collaboration between Denmark, Greenland and the Faroes. As an Arctic nation in rapidly changing climatic conditions, Greenland is quickly becoming an area of interest for different Arctic powers, not least the USA. In this whirlwind of modern geopolitics, the desire to advance your position on the global scene, and the striving for independence from Denmark, the ultimate question for many people in Greenland is not so much a matter of resources, changing climate and those outside forces pushing the country in different directions; the question is rather: who are we? And: how are we (doing)? My talk centers around the historical aspects of identity in Greenland and what it means to modern Greenlanders.


Mathias Nordvig, PhD, is an instructor of Nordic Studies and Head of the Nordic program at the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures. His research interests include environmental humanities, myth, folklore and environment, and the uses of Norse mythology in contemporary sub-cultures and media.


Wednesday, September 30, 2020
11:00 am to 12:00 pm





  • CIRES employees
  • CU Boulder employees
  • General Public
  • NOAA employees
  • Science collaborators
  • Open to Public



Mistia Zuckerman