What histories is Antarctica hiding?
The most famous story of Antarctica involves European explorers racing to reach the South Pole. But the history of the southernmost region is a landscape as strange, varied, and vast as the continent itself, and it extends far beyond the well-trod paths of the Heroic Era.
The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust's Public Engagement Fellow, Amelia Urry, will research these "hidden histories" within the British Antarctic Survey Archives, for a public storytelling project highlighting other ways of narrating Antarctica— and the other, less familiar figures who peopled these histories.
From the women who assembled maps of the Antarctic territories without ever setting foot on the continent, to the engineers who adapted scientific instruments for polar conditions or drove Muskeg tractors on long traverses of unknown terrain, these characters are often hidden in plain sight, visible but unnamed, at the margins of more recognizable stories. As Antarctica became a site for global scientific projects in the last decades of the 20th century, this history also came to include concerns about waste and pollution, the far-flung effects of human activity, and possibility of rapid, catastrophic change.
Urry is a PhD student in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge, where she studies the history of Antarctic climate science and ongoing management of scientific uncertainty in the measuring and modelling of ice. UKAHT is grateful to the British Society for the History of Science for funding this Fellowship.
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