Gunvor Simonsen

Gunvor Simonsen

Associate Professor - Promotion Programme

Primary fields of research

I specialize in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Atlantic history. My particular focus is on Caribbean cultural and social history though I also work with West African and Danish Atlantic history. In my research I have explored questions about government, gender, religion, and race in the US Virgin Islands when they were under Danish rule and known as the Danish West Indies.

I am currently in charge of the research project IN THE SAME SEA funded by a consolidator grant from the European Research Council. Together with a multinational team of researchers and supported by digital tools, the team of IN THE SAME SEA will narrate the history of how the Lesser Antilles emerged as a common world of slavery and freedom, c. 1650s-1850s. The project runs from 2020 to 2025.

In addition, I research the history of racism and race Denmark in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, focusing in particular on how anti-African racism was localized in the country’s capital Copenhagen, the financial center of the Danish Atlantic empire.

In have my empirical footing in Danish Atlantic history, though I find inspiration in new global history, post- and decolonial studies, sociological and anthropological critical analysis, and in whatever else makes me curious and helps me think in new ways about the past.

I hold degrees from the European University Institute, Florence, (PhD), and from Roskilde University (MA) in history and international development studies. In addition to fieldwork experiences from Tanzania and Nicaragua, I have studied at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and been a visiting researcher at Warwick University’s Center for Caribbean Studies.

I supervise MA-papers and PhD-dissertations dealing with:

  • Caribbean history
  • Atlantic history
  • Race and racism
  • Gender and women
  • Slavery and the transatlantic slave trade
  • Imperialism, colonialism and post-colonial societies
  • Global history
  • Social history

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