Arctic Humanities

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Arctic Humanities examines art, literature, visual and material culture connected to the Arctic region from the eighteenth century until the present. The geographical parameters of the ‘Arctic’ in this context consists primarily of the parts of the circumpolar north associated with a history of colonial intervention, including Sápmi (Lapland), Greenland and northern Canada, Alaska and North America. Through textual, visual and object analyses of material created by both Arctic indigenous peoples and by Europeans and Americans, our research focuses on two issues 1) breaks and continuities in how the region – its peoples, animals and landscapes – has been and continues to be represented in Western culture and society; and, 2) concurrent voices and presences represented by Arctic indigenous peoples (such as hunters, author, artists) in contact with or affected by colonialism.

Building on the important work produced by three previous RCN-funded projects concerned with art and literature in the circumpolar north, Arctic Humanities emphasizes the continued need for the humanities in research related to the Arctic. An ambition of the research group is to establish a center for Arctic humanities.  

For the period 2020-2024, the main activities of the research group are connected to the international, RCN-funded project Arctic Voices in Art and Literature in the Long Nineteenth Century.

Activities