Gregory Hansen


Danish American, folklife, culture, art, tradition, ethnic identity


Danish-American ethnicity has traditionally been studied by examining the literature, religion, social and educational institutions, and business enterprises of Danes in America. In general researchers have looked to Fine Arts and Culture to understand the Danish ethnic identity. But examining only Culture and Art yields an incomplete understanding of culture and art. Danish ethnic culture in America consists primarily of the non-elitist traditions and arts of individuals' everyday lives rather than the contributions of the elite, and the discipline of folklore can provide a more complete concept of Danish heritage. Folklife studies involve the stages of identifying, documenting, interpreting, and presenting traditional culture. Because there have been few studies of Danish-American folklife, a necessary first step is to define basic terms and provide a means for identifying Danish-American folklife. When researchers gain an understanding of the subject of folklife and an ability to identify Danish-American traditional culture, in depth studies of the ethnic group's folklife can be completed.