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Nordic Ideology between Religion and Scholarship

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Horst Junginger and Andreas Akerlund

The articles of this volume treat the expansion of the Nordic ideology in the first half of the twentieth century. They concentrate on the amalgamation of scientific, religious and political features, which transformed the idea of the North into a mainstay of extreme nationalism. Lacking positive norms and values, the Nordic idea depended on the opposition against everything deemed un-Nordic. Völkisch Nordicism shared with conventional forms of nationalism the enmity with Judaism and Bolshevism and – to a lesser extent – with Anglo-Americanism and Catholicism. Beyond that, it constituted a mythological counter narrative that combined the idea of spiritual kinship with biological lineage, on Pagan as well as on Christian grounds.

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The Migration of the Nordic Idea

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Sven Hedin and German Scholars: The Cases of Wilhelm A. Unkrig and Ferdinand Lessing Hartmut Walravens Introduction Sven Hedin harboured a deep affection for Germany, even during the darkest times of its history. He studied with the geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen (1833–1905) in Berlin, and he worked and corresponded with many German schol- ars, scientists, administrators, and explorers. It is, however, premature to venture serious statements on his relationships with German colleagues. The field is vast, and an examination of his correspondence files in the Swedish Riksarkivet in Stockholm as well as an analysis of his expeditions and all of his publications would be necessary – as would, of course, an investigation of materials regarding his German collaborators and friends. For the time being, it seems advisable to limit the discussion to a few case studies. In two cases the correspondence with Hedin has been published and we have statements and material regarding cooperation on common projects. Whether the results of this survey may be generalised, is a differ- ent question; sweeping statements usually have little substance and value. The pre- sent case studies relate not to scientific exploration but to Mongolian and Tibetan texts and the religious culture of Central Asia. At first short biographies of the two scholars are given, then their relationship with Sven Hedin is surveyed on the basis of their correspondence and other sources, and a summary is then attempted. Wilhelm A. Unkrig (1883–1956) Wilhelm Alexander Unkrig was born at Köslin, Pomerania, the...

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