Northern Darkness: Engaging Blackness in Scandinavia

Call for Abstracts:

Northern Darkness: Engaging Blackness in Scandinavia

What is the history of Black Scandinavia? What are the experiences, negotiations, and community building strategies of peoples of Scandinavians of African descent living in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland? In what ways have specific national, as well as our own gendered, sexual generational and/or migrational, histories presented us with specific ways of understanding and negotiating the meaning of blackness on regional, national and/or everyday personal levels? This anthology aims to begin the process of writing this heretofore almost invisible history – to mark our specific presence and strategies of survival in what is globally often called “The North”.

We, the editors, are seeking abstracts for an English anthology on Afro-Scandinavians. The abstract, written in English, should be less than 500 words, and include a preliminary title, your professional affiliation and contact information. Email it to no later than November 15, 2008. By the 30th of November 2008, we will have chosen about 15 abstracts to include in the anthology.

Northern Darkness will be geared towards an academic audience, aiming to address some of the specific contexts and experiences of Afro-Scandinavians. We are mainly looking for essays with some theoretical import, but also want to include references to personal experiences and current social issues from various contexts.

Furthermore, we welcome different forms of creative writing, such as short stories and poems. We are currently looking for a university press interested in publishing the anthology. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss ideas, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Suggested topics:
African Diaspora in Sweden/Norway/Denmark/Finland.
* “Race” and “Race” relations in Sweden/Norway/Denmark/Finland.
* Afro-phobic discourses in Sweden/Norway/Denmark/Finland.
* Questions of identity and belonging.
* The Color of Gender in Swedish/Norwegian/Danish/Finnish gender research.
* Black masculinity/femininity and social space.
* Race and Sexuality in Sweden/Norway/Denmark/Finland.
* African Diasporic links and cultural production.
* Diasporic hegemonies.

These keywords and topics are of course not exhaustive, but are offered as suggestions.


Ylva Habel, Department of Film Studies, Stockholm University.
Victoria Kawesa, Department of Gender Studies, Linköping University.
Michael McEachrane, Department of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, USA.
Lena Sawyer, Department of Social Work, Mid Sweden University.

Barbara Hendricks, Soprano in Sweden

Barbara Hendrix

Barbara Hendricks is an American-born operatic soprano and concert singer. She is also known for her work as a human rights activist. Hendricks is currently a citizen of Sweden.

Hendricks was born in Stephens, Arkansas. She graduated from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and chemistry at the age of 20. She then attended Juilliard School of Music in New York, where she studied with mezzo-soprano Jennie Tourel and participated in master classes led by soprano Maria Callas. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music.

Glennis Grace, Dutch Diva

Eurovision Biography

‘Amazing Grace’ has certainly risen to the occasion since her triumph in the Dutch finals of the National Song Contest 2005 with her energetic power ballad ‘My Impossible Dream’. (Her song scored a unanimous 12 points from all jury members and the televoting audience).

In the press, she has become known as ‘Amazing Grace’! At 26 years old, Amsterdam-born Glennis took the audience and the jury by storm with her powerful voice and emotional performance.

She got a standing ovation during the Dutch finals and the Netherlands hope that the international audience in Kiev feels the same way. It???s been a long time since a Dutch Eurovision contestant received so many compliments from other countries. A lot of people are comparing her song and performance to the Eurovision days of C??line Dion and Corinne Hermes, who both won the contest by the sheer power of their voices.

Glennis has been invited by Greece to perform her song as a ???special guest??? during their finals in Athens. And the video of ‘My Impossible Dream’ was broadcast in the UK, Spain and Israel during their national finals. Even at this early stage, Glennis is leading in several internet polls. The secret of her success? Well, it???s ‘seeing is believing’. Kiev here she comes!!

As Glennis says, “I come alive on stage, the audience gives me energy.”

Ever since Glennis was six years old, singing has been her life ??? she just loves the stage. Coming from a musical family and raised in a well-known musical area of Amsterdam, she entered many talent contests and won most of them. When she was 12 she performed with Audrey Hepburn at a Unicef gala and, at the age of 13, she was invited by the Spanish singer Julio Iglesias, to join him in a duet, during his concert tour in Holland. When she was 15 she won a prestigious talent show on national Dutch television and she made her first records. For years to come she was considered one of the best singers in Holland. She appeared in an endless stream of radio and TV shows and was often chosen to be a ‘special guest’ in big arena shows of leading Dutch superstars like Frans Bauer and Rene Froger.

A Dutch diva with international allure; but no record deal???

Everybody expected her to really break through with her album ‘Secrets Of My Soul’ in late 2003. It contained songs from renowned American songwriters and producers like Diane Warren, Rodney Jerkins, Babyface, R. Kelly as well as numbers by Sweden???s Jorgen Elofsson and Brian Rawlings from the UK. But, in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and the UK, the album didn???t sell enough to break even and the Dutch record company EMI Records, in a period of decline, had to let her go. Glennis was without a recording contract and says there was ???nothing much happening???. Times were hard and money was low (only her manager stayed by her side) and the Glennis Grace story almost came to an end.

Then suddenly, she realised that her dream was not impossible??? She was asked her to sing a song for the Dutch National Song Contest and felt that she had ???nothing left to lose???. She decided to do it which brings us (and her) back to the beginning of this story. Will her tale be continued in Kiev? Let???s hope so; it???s been 30 years since the Netherlands last won the Eurovision Song Contest.
Television credits:
“Kids Top 20” (1 episode, 2005)
– Episode #1.103 (2005) TV episode

“Life & Cooking” …. Herself (4 episodes, 2003-2007)
… aka Life en cooking (Netherlands)
– Episode #8.9 (2007) TV episode …. Herself
– Life & singing 2006 deel 2 (2006) TV episode …. Herself
– Life & singing 2006 deel 1 (2006) TV episode …. Herself
– Episode #3.16 (2003) TV episode …. Herself
“Shownieuws” …. Herself (1 episode, 2007)
– Episode dated 26 September 2007 (2007) TV episode …. Herself
“Barend en Van Dorp” …. Herself (1 episode, 2005)
– Episode dated 1 June 2005 (2005) TV episode …. Herself
The Eurovision Song Contest Semi Final (2005) (TV) …. Dutch entry (15th place)
“Top of the Pops NL” …. Herself (1 episode, 2005)
– Episode #1.223 (2005) TV episode …. Herself
Nationaal songfestival (2005) (TV) …. Herself
National Song Selection (2005) (TV) …. Herself – Special Guest

Cyndee Peters is a wonderful artist.


Official Bio :

Cyndee Peters is a wonderful singer and artist…ask almost any Swede. Her legendary career reflects a remarkable and very personal journey from proud origins in North Carolina, to New York City where as a teenager her talents were nurtured, and ultimately led to her worldwide career. And although it was never her intention to become an artist, having received a degree in sociology, she has gone on to perform for both the Royal Family of Sweden and for Pope John Paul II. For Nobel Prize recipients Toni Morrison and Nelson Mandela, heads of state as well as countless others in concert halls, theaters, churches and arenas.

In Sweden, her name is a household word, frequently used in crossword puzzles. Her concerts are usually full to overflowing and she is a regular guest on both television and radio. She is literally known and loved by millions and has to date taught more than 70,000 Swedes, Danes, Finns, Norwegians, Italians, Faroe-Islanders, Dutchmen, Australians and Germans to sing gospel and spirituals.


Her legendary choir project “Black People’s Music” which began in 1972 has come to have its own special place in Swedish musical history. What sets her music apart is a powerful spirituality, a sense of purpose that listeners hear immediately. Her lovely voice conveys both power and tenderness, wisdom and love.

In February ‘99 she received the Key to the City from her hometown of Granite Falls, North Carolina and in March that same year was given the honor to once again perform for former President Nelson Mandela at a State banquet held by the King and Queen of Sweden.

Her performance at the Cognac Blues and Jazz Festival had thousands of Frenchmen on their feet asking for more, even after three encores. On January 5th,2004 Ms. Peters became an honorary member of Sweden’s prestigious Vasaordern.