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Låg panna, ljusa ögon: En raskritisk läsning av Stina Aronsons Hitom himlen (1946)
Södertörns högskola, Institutionen för kultur och lärande.
2022 (svensk)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 poäng / 30 hpOppgaveAlternativ tittel
Low forehead, light eyes : A critical reading on the construction of race in Stina Aronson’s novel This Side of Heaven (1946) (engelsk)
Abstract [en]

Stina Aronson (1892–1956) is a celebrated Swedish modernist who published twenty-five works during the first part of the 20th century. Her writings are considered to be progressive and ethical due to extensive feminist and eco-critical research. Aronson’s novel Hitom himlen(This Side of Heaven, 1946) captures the life in upper Northern Sweden, in the Torne Valley, during the beginning of 20th century.

In this thesis, I examine the narrative by placing it in relation to the racial hierarchies permeating society during the initial decades of the 20th century. The Finnish-speaking minority living in the Torne Valley came to be considered racially different from the national majority, due to national and international race science – today understood as scientific racism– and anthropology. My analysis shows how the characters are racialized using such ideas as the Mongolian theory and the cephalic index. It is further made evident that the novel captures a perception claiming the so-called ‘Finns’ were of an inferior race. And further, the belief that a mixture of Swedish, Finnish and Sami blood had weakened the group genetically. The mixture of races was defined as a serious threat to the Swedish population, who was regarded as the whitest and purest population on earth. Aronson captures this belief of a future extinction by depicting the death and illness of the youngest generation in the novel.

Furthermore, the main character, Emma Niskanpää, believes that she meets God during the church service at the yearly holiday Marie bebådelsedag. I argue though, that the man she encounters is a fictitious Herman Lundborg (1868–1943), the most prominent of the Swedish race biologists, who, in reality, repeatedly performed skull measurement during this celebration. Directly following on this encounter, the ”deaf-and-dumb” daughter of the family Renström is buried along with several others and Emma Niskanpää’s son falls ill with tuberculosis. In this way, the novel captures the racial surveys carried out on minority groups– surveys which are today considered a national trauma. In This Side of Heaven, Stina Aronson turns into literature a specific form of racism and a forgotten part of Swedish history as a pioneering country in the formulation of race hierarchies.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
2022. , s. 75
Emneord [sv]
Stina Aronson, Hitom himlen (1946), Sanningslandet (1952), Sång till polstjärnan (1948), raskritik, vithetsstudier, Tornedalen, tornedalingar, samer, Svensk rasbiologi, Herman Lundborg, Anders och Gustaf Retzius
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Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-49389OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-49389DiVA, id: diva2:1675878
Fag / kurs
Comparative Literature
Veileder
Examiner
Tilgjengelig fra: 2022-06-30 Laget: 2022-06-23 Sist oppdatert: 2022-06-30bibliografisk kontrollert

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