A Study on Slavery, Abolition and Race Relations:

Uncle Tom's Cabin in Swedish and Swedish-American Media Culture 1852-1895.

The aim of this research project is to explore representations of slavery, abolition, and race relations in nineteenth century Sweden and Swedish immigrant communities living in the United States at the time, with a particular focus on book illustrations in Swedish editions of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Or, Life Among the Lowly (1852). This study sets out to analyse how the novel and the subsequent media culture were reworked to be of relevance in Swedish and Swedish-American contexts. Drawing on interdisciplinary fields as transnational studies, visual culture studies and Scandinavian colonialism the project intends to develop theoretical and methodological frameworks for writing transcultural art histories that challenge the discipline’s methodological nationalism. The project not only fills a gap in the existing literature, but it can also help us think in new ways about the importance of movement of pictures, books, ephemera and other visual artefacts between distant communities and the ways in which border crossings shaped discussions about slavery, abolition and race relations on both sides of the Atlantic.

Åsa Bahrati Larsson, Södertörn universitet.


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