What is IPY
Sámi -- their lives and culture -- have been depicted as objects throughout history both in images and texts. This project explores representations of Sámi made by four prominent nineteenth-century researchers who travelled in the north of Sweden, Norway, Finland and to Spetsbergen. Working in Sweden, these scientits (Göran Wahlenberg (1780-1851), Lars Levi Læstadius (1800-1861), Sven Lovén (1809-1895) and Axel Hamberg (1863-1933)) had degrees in or did research in geology, botany, ocenography and zoology.
Within natural science at that time, "objectifiation" was quite common: researchers identified, mapped and explained plants, animals, rock, snow, glaciers, weather conditions such as snow and wind. Sámi were similary objectified in the researchers' writings. Nevertheless were the researchers sometimes interested in the knowledge the Sámi had and also used them as reindeer herders when transporting the researchers and their equipment, when going animal hunting, or used them as guides.
The result of the field science the researchers carried out was the foundation of new scholarly fields; a natural scientific Sámi anthropology and a natural scientific Sámi ethnography. Even if the scholarly fields were new -- it was not that common for natural scientists to do research on Sámi -- much of the so-called knowledge about the Sámi within theses fields was based on references to art, missionaries' and priests' descriptions of Sámi, and even from the Icelandic sagas. Thus the natural scientists constructed an image, a representation, of Sámi or even a Sámi culture that was based on older representations of the Sámi. This process was linked to the industrialisation in Sweden where forests, minings and water power were developed. Science developed at the same time as a tool for this industrialisation explotation. Thus the new scholarly fields with Sámi as research objects became a part of that Swedish-Nordic colonisation of the North."