Public and National Imagination of the Arctic

  • Derek Kane O’Leary


This chapter examines how the Arctic has acted as a source of inspiration and how this plays into larger political challenges of the region today. The long history of southern perceptions and engagement with the Arctic is mainly a catalogue of fantastic thinking and fraught endeavor. Unprecedented climate change, technology, geopolitics, and global markets have conspired to a decade of renewed fascination with the Arctic. But our knowledge of its space, environmental conditions, ecology, and human culture remains inchoate. To a large extent, the USA and Canada have—like their circum-Arctic neighbor, Russia—inherited particular orientations toward the Arctic. Today, new threats emerge to Arctic ecology and the peoples of the circum-Arctic, and sovereignty disputes with Russia and others excite anxiety of renewed geopolitical conflict.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek Kane O’Leary
    • 1
  1. 1.History DepartmentUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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