University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Polar Humanities and Social Sciences ECR Workshop > A tale of two price-lists: economic topography and colonial governance in the context of the Royal Greenland Trading Company

A tale of two price-lists: economic topography and colonial governance in the context of the Royal Greenland Trading Company

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Emilie Canova.

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Carlsberg Foundation Fellow School of Culture and Society Aarhus University & Postdoctoral Research Associate, Darwin College University of Cambridge

When the Royal Greenlandic Trading Company (KGH) was founded in 1774, it was granted control over both the monopoly trade and the colonial administration in Greenland. The control over the monopoly trade allowed the KGH to set the purchase price of local products and the value of imported goods from Denmark. The KGH ’s colonial administrative power meant that the company directed access to salaried jobs and education. This continued to be the case until 1908, when the Danish parliament passed a law that separated the governance of the trade and colonial administration from each other. The legislative change followed years of debate over the impact of KGH on the living conditions of Kalaallit Inuit. In this paper, I examine what the KGH ’s pricelists, called the ‘General-takster’, can reveal about the way the KGH shaped all aspects of life in Greenland. In turn, a comparison between the KGH ’s financial records and the General-takster’ illustrates how resource extraction functioned to uphold colonial governance. During the discussion, I hope to engage a conversation on the relationships between geography and economy, settler colonialism, and resource extraction in Greenland.

This talk is part of the Polar Humanities and Social Sciences ECR Workshop series.

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