Anna Lydia Svalastog and Gunlög Fur (eds.): Visions of Sápmi
To approach Sápmi is not an easy task. To try to grasp a part of Sápmi and make it into a comprehensible text in a relatively short book is even more challenging. Svalastog and Fur have gathered six articles in this volume, with six quite different perspectives. The purpose of the book is somewhat vague: ‘to generate further interest on the Sami presence, both in the past and in the present.’ So that will be my perspective for this review, as a historian of religion, a senior lecturer at Mid Sweden University in the Study of Religion. One of my focuses when teaching about Sami religion and culture is to generate further interest in this in my students, especially the students aiming to become Middle School teachers. In the latest curriculum for Swedish 10 to 12 year olds, Sami religion is one of the subjects to teach. Could Svalastog and Fur’s collection possibly be something to use? To be honest, I’m thrown between hope and despair. The book has its origin in academic discussion at Umeå University, but the contributions that surface in it are not always academic, and sometimes over-academic, if there is such a thing. This creates differences between texts, but it also makes it obvious that each writer seems to have had different groups of audiences in mind when writing. Two general approaches can be seen and may be characterized as descriptive and analytic. But for my purposes, maybe both can be of use.
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