The project makes research on the encounters in which Christianity came to the native communities and individual people in the Arctic.

Research is made in comparative perspectives: comparisons between different societies, Christian denominations, and ontologies. Essential questions are as to how, in different communities, the new religion was proclaimed, accepted, resisted, and instituted. What were the apparent and subtle forms of living and communicating the new faith and, correspondingly, the native’s strategies and interpretations in this new situation? It is significant to understand, what kind of actions did the situation trigger, and how the different occurrences were presented and interpreted, what cultural forms came into being, and what was erased. As the ways of life and local communities were radically changed, how did earlier traditions or elements of it prevail? How were everyday habits, rituals, and moral conceptions changed? These occurrences not only took place in the past. They still shape life in the Arctic, and are even concurrent.

In the project, both theological (meaning here academic analysis of religious notions and currents) and ethnographic perspectives are employed. The triangulation of historiography with aspects of theology and cultural studies appears as significant in the project's methodology. Church history is written with included native and local cultural viewpoints – and without specific Christian or ecclesiastical bias. This task is utterly necessary in order to create fresh understanding on the history and religious-cultural landscape of these regions.

Allmän beskrivning

How did circumpolar indigenous people encounter Christianity? What did it mean for them, and how have the different histories been subsequently interpreted? What was the effect of different Christian denominations, churches, and organizations in a comparative perspective?
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