The Postcolonial Arctic Conference

Event Date: 
Fri, 30/05/2014 - 09:00 to Sat, 31/05/2014 - 17:00
Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds
29-31 Clarendon Place, Leeds LS2 9JT

This two-day conference, aimed primarily––though not exclusively––at postgraduate and early-career scholars, seeks to engage postcolonial theories and methods as they are applied to the European Arctic, thereby making the case for a ‘postcolonial Arctic’ in which locally articulated desires to decolonise the region are seen in both ecological and cultural-political terms. The current global scramble for the Arctic can be seen in terms of a centuries-long pursuit of material wealth and political purchase in the region that has hardly diminished for the various colonial and commercial powers concerned (Craciun 2009). The Arctic might thus be described as having both a colonial past and a colonial present, and the conference will look to operate with this double understanding of the postcolonial: as both a painful negotiation of the legacies of earlier eras and a reckoning––in many ways equally damaging––with those new forms of colonialism that have surfaced in today’s globalised world. But the event also seeks to operate with a third, more hopeful understanding of the postcolonial: as setting up the parameters for both imaginative and material transformation so as to support cultural and political autonomy, but also to create the conditions for a more ‘planetary’ (cosmopolitan, socially and ecologically balanced) vision of the world. Papers given at the conference have been invited from across all disciplines, theoretical and empirical angles, and areas of relevance to a ‘postcolonial Arctic’. 

The event will be held at the Leeds Humanities Research Institute (University of Leeds) and co-hosted by the Leeds Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies (ICPS). Keynote speakers include Michael Bravo (Cambridge), Kari Herbert (Polarworld Publishing) and Tero Mustonen (Snowchange Collective, Finland).