The Blog January 17, 2020

CfP: Colonialism, Postcolonialism, and Antarctica (Oslo, Dec. 2020)

As the world heats up, so has the competition for resources and strategic advantages in the polar regions. Later this year, scholars will meet to address the ongoing history of such efforts in the Antarctic in Norway, long one of the most avid participants in the game of polar exploration - and territorial claims. Yet to what extent can theory developed with respect to other world regions really apply to the past, present, and future of such moves? The deeper aim of the meeting will be to explore the extent to which traditional analyses of coloniality can apply to the icebound continent - or similar spaces - addressing such questions as whether the the landmass really has a "colonial" history given it has not been host to an indigenous population, is a place that is typically represented as a "space for science" rather than economic activity, and is a territory that has an exceptional relationship to regimes of international law and global governance employed elsewhere. The conference aims, eventually, to produce an edited volume exploring how power has been used in Antarctica in the past - and continues to be used in the present. It will also seek to explore the outer limits of the concepts of colonialism and postcolonialism for spaces to which these ideas are not typically applied - including Antarctica but also the deep sea bed.

The organizers welcome scholars at any career stage interested in exploring these issues as they relate to both Antarctica or other comparative spaces in which the same theoretical questions about colonialism or postcolonialism are present. Applicants should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words with contact details to Oda Davanger (o.s.davanger@iss.uio.no), no later than March 30. Successful applicants will be notified by April 20. The workshop will consist of precirculated papers and applicants should be prepared to deliver a draft suitable for commentary and discussion (~6000 words) by November 15. Travel funding is available, and more details are provided here.

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