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Department of Geography, University of Cambridge



Image: Female employee hiking up Observation Hill, McMurdo Station, Antarctica;
Photography: Morgan Seag, 2012.

Polar Humanities and Social Sciences ECR Workshop

The Polar Humanities and Social Sciences Early Career Researcher Workshop (PHaSS) is an adaptive space for early career researchers working on polar-related topics. The Workshop has three major functions: provide research support for graduate and early career group members; act as a forum for roundtable discussions centred on readings, current events, or works-in-progress; and facilitate dialogue between scholars who are visiting SPRI and group members. The workshop meets during term time.

Convenors: Bronte Evans, Emilie Canova and Liz Walsh. To contact the convenors or join the mailing list contact

View the archive of previous seminars.

# Thursday 8th June 2023, 2.00pm - Po-hsi Chen, Post-doctoral fellow, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Oceanic Ecotopia, (De) colonizing the South; China’s First Encounter with Antarctica, 1882-1906
Venue: Hybrid: Seminar room, SPRI & Zoom - email organiser for details

As a latecomer in the geopolitical contest, China has joined the race for the Arctic and Antarctica today in terms of military deployment and scientific research. However, this hard-power approach was not the only way to imagine its engagement with the polar regions. Although China is far removed from the South Pole, late imperial publications show that it has been surprisingly up to date about the development of the European exploration of Antarctica since the late nineteenth century. This paper is a preliminary study of China’s earliest cli-fi about Antarctica, Icy Mountain and Snowy Ocean (Bingshan xuehai), published in 1906. Subtitled ‘A Colonial Novel’ (zhimin xiaoshuo), it is set in the apocalyptic future in the year 2399, where global climate change drives southeastern Chinese people to search for a new livable habitat. After sailing for months through the Arctic and Indian Ocean, the Chinese expedition team establishes a socialist ecotopia with people of other races on a remote continent. This study aims to shed light on China’s long-standing but less-known fascination with the continent and its evolving role in shaping its geopolitical, scientific, and environmental policies.

# Thursday 15th June 2023, 5.00pm - Bronte Evans, Emilie Canova, Liz Walsh, SPRI
End of term Polar social gathering
Venue: In person - location TBC

Come and enjoy drinks with us!