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Unfreezing the ArcticScience, Colonialism, and the Transformation of Inuit Lands$
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Andrew Stuhl

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226416649

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226416786.001.0001

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Threatened: The Ambitions and Anxieties of Expeditions

Threatened: The Ambitions and Anxieties of Expeditions

(p.39) Chapter Two Threatened: The Ambitions and Anxieties of Expeditions
Unfreezing the Arctic

Andrew Stuhl

University of Chicago Press

This chapter follows three expeditions that cemented the idea of a threatened Arctic between 1899 and 1918. These expeditions are the Anglo-American Expedition of 1906-1907, the Stefansson-Anderson Expedition of 1908-12 and the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913-1918. The analysis distinguishes expeditions from the travels of previous independent naturalists or collectors, since expeditions involved teams of scientists who moved in coordinated fashion. The scientific mission to discover and document the life of the North was a harbinger of governmental ambitions in territorial expansion and mineral development as well as a Social Darwinist anxieties that industrial civilization would destroy Inuit culture. The chapter links scientific travel across the Arctic from Alaska to the Mackenzie River in the early 1900s with the transformations in the networks of trade in the region over the end of the 1800s. Moreover, it shows how new standards for science emerged in part because of the possibility of intensive and extensive fieldwork, which relegated previous scientific exploration as inadequate. These relations are examined through the experiences of scientists Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Diamond Jenness, Rudolph Anderson, Ernest de Koven Leffingwell, and Ejnar Mikkelsen. Ultimately, the chapter argues that expeditions were conjunctions of environmental, economic, political, and intellectual processes.

Keywords:   expeditions, Anglo American expedition, Stefansson-Anderson Expedition, Canadian Arctic Expedition, social darwinism, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Ernest de Koven Leffingwell, Rudolph Anderson, Diamond Jenness, Ejnar Mikkelsen

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