EVENT: Depths and Surfaces: Understanding the Antarctic Region through the Humanities and Social Sciences

01 Jan EVENT: Depths and Surfaces: Understanding the Antarctic Region through the Humanities and Social Sciences

A conference to be held at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 5-7 July 2017

Website: http://antarctica-hasseg.com/biennial-conference-2017/
Deadline for Abstracts: 3 March 2017 (see details below)
Keynote Speakers: Prof. Sanjay Chaturvedi (Panjab University), Prof. Anne Noble (Massey University) and Prof. Tim Stephens (University of Sydney)

Antarctica rarely makes it onto the map of the humanities and social sciences. While artists have produced responses to the continent for centuries, non-scientific researchers have been reluctant to venture intellectually into the far southern latitudes. The continent’s lack of an indigenous or permanent human population, together with a popular Antarctic exceptionalism which frames the continent as immune to the political, social and economic forces that affect the rest of the globe, has made it seem off-limits to analysis outside of a scientific framework.

Increasingly, however, public attention is being drawn to Antarctica, as the surface of its ice plays host to tourists, proliferating stations, heroic re-enactments, and national manoeuvring; its icy depths reveal the environmental history of our planet; and its ocean currents ominously undermine the glaciers around its edges. While scientific efforts are crucial, understanding the Antarctic region – past, present and future – requires contributions across the disciplinary spectrum. This conference aims to bring together humanities, creative arts and social sciences researchers interested in the Antarctic, fostering a community of scholars who can act in concert with natural scientists to address the issues that face the Antarctic region.


We invite papers from a broad range of disciplines – including history, literary and cultural studies, creative arts, sociology, politics, geography and law – that engage with the Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and Southern Ocean. Contributions from scientists interested in engaging with the HASS community are encouraged. Both proposals for individual papers (20 minutes with 10 minutes question time) and interdisciplinary panels are welcome.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

• Antarctic texts and subtexts
• Antarctic cryoscapes
• Anthropocene Antarctica
• Ice cores as cultural and political objects
• Submerged issues in the Antarctic region
• Connections and collaborations between the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences (particularly oceanography and bathymetry)
• History of polar science
• Antarctic historiography
• History and politics of the Southern Ocean
• Digging into the past: archives, artefacts, archaeology
• Subantarctic islands: histories and cultures
• Postcolonial Antarctica
• Ice and identity politics
• Antarctic nationalisms
• Polar geographies and geopolitics
• Antarctica and the global commons
• Transpolar connections
• Polar mobilities, vertical and horizontal
• Antarctic tourism and travel
• Inhabiting the ice: structures and dwellings
• Polar heritage and museums
• Antarctic aesthetics
• Antarctica and emotions
• Antarctic futures

ABSTRACTS of up to 250 words, including a short bio note, in WORD doc format, should be emailed to antarcticassag@gmail.com by 3 March 2017, with notification of acceptance by 31 March 2017. There will be an opportunity for selected papers to be expanded into one or more publications stemming from the conference.

For enquiries please contact antarcticassag@gmail.com.

This is the third joint conference of the Humanities and Social Sciences Expert Group and the History Expert Group of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. Local sponsors include the Multidisciplinary Environment Research Group, the Centre for Colonialism and its Aftermath, and the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (University of Tasmania).

Convenor: Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Leane (School of Humanities/IMAS, University of Tasmania)

Advisory Committee:

Dr Ben Maddison (School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, U. Wollongong)
Dr Jeff McGee (Faculty of Law/IMAS, UTAS)
Dr Steve Nicol (Adjunct Professor, IMAS, UTAS)
Miranda Nieboer (Postgraduate Candidate, School of Humanities/IMAS, UTAS)
Hanne Nielsen (Postgraduate Candidate, School of Humanities/IMAS, UTAS)
Dr. Carolyn Philpott (Conservatorium of Music, Tasmanian College of the Arts, UTAS)

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