Project: Narratives of Empire

In this project we study how postcolonial and decolonial ideas are conveyed in popular culture.

Facts about the project

Director: Johan Höglund
Project Members: Johan Höglund
Funding organisation: Swedish Research Council (2010-2015)
Timetable: 2010-2023
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Subjects: English, Film studies, Literature, History
Research Centre: Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies

About the project

This comparative and multimodal project uses postcolonial and decolonial theory to map the way that popular culture conveys colonial and decolonial sentiments and discourses in three different geographical and temporal settings.

The first such setting focuses the US from the late eighteenth century to the present and studies the strong connection between the development of American popular culture and the expansion of US imperialism. Particular attention is given to how this fiction imagines relationships to land and how it helps to negotiate notions of security and insecurity. The RJ Sabbatical awarded in 2020 for the subproject Militarizing the Anthropocene: Security, Militant Futures and American Climate Fiction explores this aspect in detail and will be reported in the form of a monograph in 2023.

The second setting is the well-researched late Victorian and Edwardian period during the climax of the British Empire. In relation to this, the project has explored the way that eugenics and other racialized discourses and practices were voiced by gothic writers such as Bram Stoker and Richard Marsh.

The third setting is Northern Scandinavia from the late nineteenth century to the present. The focus here is primarily on the colonisation by the Swedish state of the indigenous Saami and how this relationship has been described in literature, film and other forms of culture.

The project has been underway since 2010 and is housed within LNUC Concurrences since 2012. Extensive results have been published in international journals such as Scandinavian Studies, English Literature in Transition, Game Studies, The European Journal of American Studies and Journal of Postcolonial Writing.

The project has also produced a number of books and special issues, including the monograph The American Imperial Gothic (Routledge 2014), the collections Gothic in the Anthropocene, ed Johan Höglund, Justin Edwards and Rune Graulund (Minnesota University Press, 2021), and Animal Horror Cinema: Genre, History and Criticism, ed. Johan Höglund, Katarina Gregersdotter and Nicklas Hållén (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and the special issues “Revisiting Adventure” for the Journal of Popular Culture (2018) and “Nordic Colonialisms” for Scandinavian Studies 2019.