Arctic Modernities

Arctic Modernities

The Arctic Modernities project, which was completed 31 July 2016, investigated the impact of modernisation/modernity on the Arctic as a cultural formation. Among publications from the project are
  • Arctic Modernities (Nordlit no. 35, 2015),
  • a forthcoming special issue of Acta Borealia (2/2016) and
  • Arctic Modernities: Culture and Literature (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) forthcoming 2017.

The project was funded by the Polar Programme (POLARPROG) of the Research Council of Norway (NFR) with a project period from 1 August 2013 until 31 July 2016.

The emphasis of the Arctic Modernities project was on three nodal points that are often interlinked within discourses of Arctic modernity: gender, indigeneity and ecology. Gender functioned as key to an understanding of modernisation processes in the Arctic, while indigeneity and ecology were seen as inextricably linked in discourses of Arctic modernity that respond to the complexities and risks of Arctic developments, globally as well as locally. All three nodal points provided the basis for critique and a necessary focus on the grey zones ignored in much present-day decision making about the Arctic. Among the material studied was a wide spectrum of textual genres, from media debates, documentation, travel writing, guidebooks and memoirs on the one hand, to fiction and poetry on the other. While most of the material consisted of representations of specific geographical locations across the transnational circumpolar area, it also covered the generalised North of travel writing and fantasy. In addition to literature the project included such visual genres as paintings, architecture and film. The perspective on the Arctic in the material was both external/touristic, as exemplified by fantasy literature, travel writing, expedition narratives and sociological reports, and internal/indigenous, based on residency and intimate local knowledges.

Project description in English and Norwegian:

Activity plan:

  • Project workshop in Svalbard February 2014
  • Conference in Tromsø September 2014
  • Project workshop on Hurtigruten spring 2015
  • Publications  2016–18


Photo credits: Nick Cobbing, John Quigley’s “Melting Vitruvian Man” (2011) and Marja Helander, “Mount Palopää" from the series Modern Nomads (2001)


ARCTIC MODERNITIES - an international interdisciplinary conference, September 2014.

Research Council of Norway project number: 226030


Fra arktiske diskurser til arktiske moderniteter - blog by Schimanski and Spring

Page administrator: Berger, Torunn
Last updated: 24.10.2023 12:31