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Title: Tracing warm lines : northern Canadian exploration, knowledge, and memory, 1905-1965
Author: Adcock, Christina
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2010
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The dissertation considers the early twentieth-century culture of northern Canadian exploration through a selective examination of the lives and written works of four contemporary explorers: George Douglas (1875-1963), Guy Blanchet (1884-1966), Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879-1962), and Richard Finnie (1906-1987). Written from a cultural historical perspective, the dissertation also draws upon recent work in the interdisciplinary study of exploration that understands this activity as an assemblage of cultural practices to do with the production and consumption of travel. Against the current trend of northern Canadian historiography, it asserts the importance of twentieth-century exploration, and of exploration generally, in creating modern identities, in producing and circulating knowledge about the Canadian North, and in creating representations of that region for the private and public consumption of southern Canadians and Americans. Moreover, it argues that closer attention should be paid to the personal relationships between explorers, as well as the bearing of such relations upon the creation, verification, and circulation of knowledge about the North. The first chapter lays out these arguments and outlines the general shape of twentieth-century exploration in northern Canada. A series of case studies, set predominantly between the years of 1920 and 1965, describe and analyze exploratory encounters within the individuals under consideration - the interaction of their experiences, memories, and beliefs—and without: that is, between these individuals and other northern and southern peoples, environments, and cultures. The second and third chapters analyze the relations between northern exploratory identities and practices, the representation of the North, and cultural trends in interwar Canada and the United States, namely antimodernism and the debunking of myths. The fourth and fifth chapters are detailed accounts of two knowledge projects in which these explorers participated: an informal republic of northern letters, and the preparation of an Encyclopedia Arctica in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The sixth chapter considers the individual and communal efforts of these four men to preserve their knowledge and commemorate their achievements as the end of their lives grew near, as well as the significance of their efforts within the changing terrain of northern Canadian scientific exploration at mid-century.
Supervisor: Bravo, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Finnie, Richard, 1906-1987 ; Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 1879-1962 ; Douglas, George, 1875-1963 ; Blanchet, Guy, 1884-1966 ; Canadian North ; Exploration ; Historiography