CONF Feb 22, 2024

The Arctic Throughout History (New York, 4-5 Apr 24)

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Celeste Auditorium 42nd Street & 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10018, Apr 4–05, 2024

chantal lee

The Arctic Throughout History: Visual and Cultural Conceptions

The symposium will bring together scholars working across the humanities who are interested in questions about how the Arctic has been represented and understood historically, and its relevance in our global culture today. It asks questions such as: What sort of visual or textual sources became the authorities on the Arctic region, and how do they shape the persistence of certain stereotypes or myths about the far North? How should we consider illustrations in relation to textual narratives and scientific data? How are contemporary artists using (or are inspired by) the Arctic in relation to its environment, history, and community? What can we learn from histories of the Arctic to reframe current understandings of the landscape and its people?

This symposium is organized in conjunction with the exhibition The Awe of the Arctic: A Visual History at The New York Public Library.

Registration Required:


10–11:30 AM: Arctic Ephemera

Reframing ‘Relics’ and Reconnecting Arctic Histories: Exhibitions in Britain, Past and Present by Claire Warrior, Royal Museums Greenwich

It’s in the Mail!, A Deltiological Window to the Arctic by Stephen Loring, Arctic Studies Center/NMNH Smithsonian Institution

From Ice to Fireworks: The Return of Nordenskiold’s Vega by Henning Hansen, The Swedish National Heritage Board

11:30 AM–1 PM: Aurora Borealis

International Polar Year Pictures: Moving Meanings by Marthe Fjellestad, Perspektivet Museum, Tromsø

Looking Past the Aurora Borealis: Photography, Colonization and Extractivism by Synnøve Marie Vik, University of Bergen

Auroral Epistemology: Aesthetic Codes and Scientific Enquiry From Hand-Drawings to Photography by Fiona Amery, Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge

1–2 PM: Lunch

2–3:30 PM: Arctic Fiction

Finding Fact in Fiction: The Influence of Arctic Exploration in Dime Novels and Popular Literature by Rebecca Oviedo, Villanova University

Something so Peaceful yet so Wild, so Romantic and so Strange about the Region: Alterity and Polar Landscapes in RM Ballantyne’s Literary Voyages to the Arctic by Juliette Pochelu, Bordeaux Montaigne University

Polar Fiction or Architectural History? The Built Environment of the Arctic in Literary Fiction by Samuel Dubois, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3:30–5:30 PM: Making Images of Indigeneity

Past the Tree Line and into the Snow: Innuit Printmaking and Conservation by Kyla Ubbink, Ubbink Book and Paper Conservation

Israil Gormansen’s Inuit Futurism by Bart Pushaw, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

Curated Dispatches: Geraldine Moodie’s Arctic Family Albums by Sarah Parsons, York University

Close-ups of the Face of Hunger: Richard Harrington and the 1950 Padlei Photographs by Jamie Cameron, York University


10–11 AM: Arctic Imaginaries

The Arctic in the Early Modern Imagination: Olaus Magnus’s and Johannes Schefferus’s Descriptions of Sapmí by Kristoffer Neville, University of California, Riverside

Greetings from Norrbotten: A Journey Within Sweden’s Imagery, Between Fiction, Cliches and Documentation by Silvia Colombo, Region Norrbotten

11 AM–12:30 PM: Painting the Arctic

Painting Arctic Exploration: Frederic Edwin Church and Isaac Israel Hayes by Allegra K. Davis, The Olana Partnership

Red in Tooth and Claw: Victorian Narratives of Animal Aggression and the Polar Bear in Art by Eva Molina, Princeton University

L’Arctique à la Parisienne: Visual Cultures of the Polar North in Nineteenth-Century Paris by Ivana Dizdar, University of Toronto

12:30–2 PM: Lunch

2–3:30 PM: Ice

Sensing the Anthropocene: Permanent Ice in Contemporary Art by Chiara Juriatti, Catholic Private University, Linz

Thawing Arctic Circuits: Icebergs in London/Snow Sculptures in Nunavut by Mark Cheetham, University of Toronto

Art as Evidence: Arctic Aesthetics of Colonial Discomfort and Contemporary Storytelling by Katie Ione Craney, University of Alaska-Fairbanks

3:30–5:30 PM: Postcolonial Perspectives

The Snow Baby: The Arctic Photobook and the Josephine Peary Archive by Paul Edwards, Université Paris Cité

Visions of Glacial Whiteness: Illustrating Ice, Race, and Religion in a Chaplain’s Diary of the 1899 Harriman Alaskan Expedition by Grace King, Penn State University

White Landscape, Decolonial Possibilities: For a New Mythology for the Arctic by Federico Rudari, The Catholic University of Portugal

CONF: The Arctic Throughout History (New York, 4-5 Apr 24). In:, Feb 22, 2024 (accessed Apr 19, 2024), <>.