Jen K Hughes
I am a doctoral candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Ph.D. expected Jan. 2021). Currently, I am finishing my dissertation and working as the Research Assistant and Program Coordinator for the Race, Indigeneity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (RIGS) Initiative at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. In Spring 2021, I will begin a Postdoctoral Fellowship for the RIGS Initiative and wrap up my documentary film project. My book project and documentary film trace how Iceland is narrativized and imagined through future talk and nostalgia for pre-colonial sovereignty and the impact of these practices on the construction of whiteness, gender, and sexuality in “Europe” from the “periphery”. Storytelling practices within Iceland (particularly due to ongoing crises) circulate and produce often-untranslatable concepts of value, gender, human/non-human relations and time. However, many stories about Iceland posit the “Icelandic Model” as key to economic recovery and democratic superiority despite ongoing scandals, busts and government instability. In my work, I argue that queer and trans studies, post-colonial, critical race and ethnic studies and critical queer indigenous studies provide tools necessary to understand the influence of colonialism and racism on the formation of contemporary capitalism. By centering Icelandic storytelling by young people in politics along with cultural production around post-millennial financial and political crises, I show how uneven political-economic practices and place-specific queer possibilities come to be lauded and exported as templates for global economic futures. Ethnographic research, writing and film production for my dissertation project were funded and supported by the American-Scandinavian Foundation, Leifur-Eiriksson Foundation, the Hella Mears Graduate Fellowship in German and European Studies, and the Graduate School and the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.