The Myth of Blubber Town, an Arctic Metropolis

Though the 17th-century whaling station of Smeerenburg was in reality, at its height, just a few dwellings and structures for processing blubber, over the decades and centuries a more extravagant picture took hold — that there once had stood, defying its far-flung Arctic location, a bustling urban centre complete with bakeries, churches, gambling dens, and[…]

Icescapes: A History of Exploring and Printing the Arctic

Arctic ice has long proved a stern adversary to explorers. Exploring the representation of this fearful foe by explorers across the centuries. As Francis Spufford’s 2003 book I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination argues, ice has a powerful hold on the English imagination. Today this is commonly articulated by summoning the names of[…]

Supernatural Sound: Science and Shamanism in the Arctic

The Arctic became a place beyond empirical grasp: the real/fantasy land of orality about which those living within the textual horizon of rational empiricism dreamed with fear and longing. Toolemak’s Voice Scanning the horizon off the coast of Greenland in 1822, William Scoresby witnessed the impossible: floating in the sky was an upside down ship.[…]