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International symposium: Ice (St)Ages 2 (28. & 29. July)


Register here from 1 July 2021: icestages@sfb948.uni-freiburg.de
Contact: Anne Hemkendreis
Anna-Sophie Jürgens

The Zoom link will be sent out a few days before the event.

Download AbstractsPDF-Flyer,  Poster


The Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science

Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald



Heroes on Ice? Conquests and Doomsday Visions

Since the great expansionist ambitions of Europe, the idea of eternal ice has functioned as a media stage for heroic Western narratives. In reality, however, the ever-changing shape of icy polar regions jeopardised any strategies of staging and witnessing. For example, the impossibility of permanently leaving traces in the ice during the multiple trials of conquering the North Pole let to an ambiguous explorer narrative that still exists today. What is more, these narratives rely on the ignorance of traces of those who were already there. Thus, we ask: what kind of evidence and mediation is needed for a heroic deed to become accepted, influential and remembered?

In the narratives of polar expeditions, the notion of a first-time occupation of virgin snowy areas – emanating from a masculine heroic image – is contrasted with the demonic unpredictability of ice. It finds an echo in science fiction stories, in which the extreme conditions of the polar regions gave rise to imaginary concepts of apocalyptic ice deserts. Here, the last survivor makes his grand entrance (seemingly) without an audience. We understand the different staging strategies of heroes as a productive process which blurs the boundaries between documentation, arts, science and science fiction.

This online symposium asks about the western and gender-specific shaping of polar heroes on ice as a performative and highly-unstable construction. This idea is accompanied by an investigation of national, economic and ecological interests performed with ice by using its visual and sensual qualities. Overwhelming aesthetics, immersion effects and doomsday scenarios are rooted in a culture of spectacles, which will be investigated from the 19th century to its emergence in contemporary (scientific) communication, art and popular culture. The aim is to explore the aesthetic use of ice – but also its agency – as a dynamic staging strategy for global (i.e. ecological, historical, and cultural) change.

Ice (St)Ages 2 is hosted by the SFB 948 “Heroes – Heroizations – Heroisms” at the University of Freiburg, Germany.

The Event Series is a collaboration of the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg in Greifswald, Germany, the Australian National Centre of the Public Awareness of Science (ANU) in Canberra, Australia and the SFB 948 at the University of Freiburg, Germany.

Der interne Bereich finden Sie nun auf der Teamplattform des SFB 948. Hinweise zum Login und zur Bedienung der Teamplattform finden Sie in diesem Dokument.