Lisa Bloom, Scholar-in-Residence

Closed (1) Climate Change and the New Polar Aesthetics: Artists Reimagine the Arctic and Antarctic

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

The project is part of an ongoing research project that will be published by Duke University Press is 2022. It presents art, visual culture, and film that addresses questions of climate change science, climate violence, extractivism, and indigenous survival in the Arctic and Antarctic. Written from an intersectional feminist perspective, it focuses on feminist, queer, postcolonial and activist artists, as well as filmmakers and artists who inhabit the volatile landscapes of extreme climate change and stand on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

For the fall of 2021 I’m looking for research assistants to assist me with research as the book is being copy edited by the press, and to help me with new projects that builds on research from this book as well as earlier writings including my first book, Gender on Ice American Ideologies of Polar Expeditions (University of Minnesota Press, 1993. One of the new projects includes an article tentatively titled: “Matthew Henson in Art and Visual Culture: Narrating Alternative Futures” for a book series (5 vols), recently commissioned by Bloomsbury, titled A Cultural History of Exploration. It addresses climate change in the arctic by seeking to recover marginalized perspectives in polar exploration to imagine alternate histories. The article focuses on how polar exploration has a different meaning of freedom and emancipatory possibility for African-American explorer Matthew Henson (1866-1955) than white polar explorers at that time. It also responds to the central crisis of Matthew Henson’s autobiography that calls into question the elevating potential of meritocracy of his day, and turns to the present to look at new stories and artwork produced to imagine a different future for Henson and the Inuit men and women who were erased in their role as travelers and explorers during Robert Peary’s expedition to the North Pole in the early 20th century. The article invites reassessment of Henson’s accomplishments by bringing in Black and Inuit perspectives to respond to the racism and violence of homophobic regimes of imperial masculinities in the context of climate breakdown.

1. Directed primary and secondary research in the UCB library and online databases
2. Research of images in museum collections and digital databases for book copyright purposes
3. Use of interlibrary loan

Learning outcomes:
Directed experience with independent research; Development of research and data organization skills; Knowledge about the growing field of the environmental humanities.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Lisa Bloom, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: The project welcomes students with different specializations and research interests that includes art history, visual culture, film, gender and women’s studies, geography, polar studies (Arctic and Antarctic), African-American Studies, Native-American Studies, literature, and history. Students must have a willingness to think critically and creatively. They should be willing to ask questions to ensure tasks are well understood and completed during the time given; maintain focus with detail and accuracy; engage professionally with fellow URAP students and faculty; and express themselves clearly and thoughtfully. Experience with Zoom and Microsoft Office would be a plus.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Off-Campus Research Site: Hybrid format.

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