The Sugar Games. New perspectives on Gothenburg's colonial history through the handling of sugar.

Research project
Active research
Project size
4 449 000
Project period
2023 - 2026
Project owner
Cecilia Lagerström

The Swedish Research Council

Short description

This project aims to create new narratives on Gothenburg's colonial history. The handling of sugar and the movement of sugar through the city during the 18th and 19th centuries will be investigated bringing performing arts practices in dialogue with decolonial thinking in the exploration of a number of places. Funded by the Swedish Research Council.

Sweden's involvement in the transatlantic slave trade has long been more or less invisible in public history writing and there is still a great lack of research in the field. A number of families made their fortunes in the colonial sugar trade, conditions that created the basis for Gothenburg's patronage culture whose manifestations can still be felt in the city even today. We live in a time of decolonial awakening where an increasing number of people are questioning the effects of colonialism. This project aims to make colonial structures visible in order to create other, non- colonial narratives, in the encounter with local history and archives that are still dominated by the patrons' perspectives.

This three-year project will be conducted by Cecilia Lagerström in collaboration with both a local and international network of participants who will help create performative investigations and contribute with perspectives from different geographical, cultural and artistic locations, focusing on the city of Gothenburg. In this way new stories about Gothenburg's colonial past and present can emerge, and an embodied, relational, and pluralistic historiography can be co-created.