Susan Lindholm and Alexandra D’Urso

Re-imagining “Swedishness”: Intersectional Feminist Resistance and Reflection on the Work of Silvana Imam


This presentation provides a brief overview of the upcoming anthology Nordic Noise: Hip Hop, Culture, and Community in Northern Europe which sets out to introduce the field of Nordic hip hop studies to an international audience. It also introduces one of the chapters included in that anthology written by Susan Lindholm and Alexandra D’Urso. Focusing on the work of Swedish feminist rapper Silvana Imam, who received asylum in Sweden as a child, the presentation discusses how Imam uses hip hop culture as a platform to position herself in relation to shifting notions of Swedishness. Through her music and activism, Imam negotiates the understandings of a “good Sweden” (that is, imagining Sweden as an antiracist, tolerant, and feminist country) and an imagined “old Sweden” (framing Sweden as a homogenous nation) – constructions that Tobias Hübinette and Catrin Lundström have called the “double-binding power of Swedish whiteness.” Imam’s work is considered in light of the growing global body of work addressing intersectional understandings of feminism within hip hop culture and in relation to broader movements of resistance to discrimination or racism against Swedes with foreign background as articulated by Nordic hip hop artists. The presentation suggests that Imam’s work contests the notion of Sweden being a post-feminist, post-racial, and welcoming society to racialized residents and citizens.


Susan Lindholm is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University. Her research interests include cultural history, memory, and gender in connection to transnational and translocal othering processes. In 2016, she defended her PhD thesis Remembering Chile. An Entangled History of Hip-hop in-between Sweden and Chile.

Alexandra D’Urso is an Educational Developer at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. She has written about educational policy in the US, music artists' antiracism and problematising of narrow conceptions of national identity, and about learning outside of formal sites of education. Her recent work explores the barriers facing women early career researchers in higher education.