Hobart as an Antarctic City: Thinking Beyond the “Gateway”

Prof Elizabeth Leane2, Dr Hanne Nielsen1, Dr Chloe Lucas3, A/Prof.Juan Francisco Salazar4, Ms Doita Datta1

1School of Humanities, University Of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

2Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

3School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

4Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Sydney. NSW, Australia

 

The five so-called “Antarctic Gateway Cities” of Hobart (Australia), Christchurch (New Zealand), Punta Arenas (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina) and Cape Town (South Africa) share a geographic proximity to the far south. They are recognized as the main international points of departure to and from the Antarctic region, as all significant engagement with Antarctica currently goes through these cities. However, this status is both politically fragile and economically uneven. The “Antarctic Cities” Linkage Project, of which this presentation forms a part, examines ways in which these cities might act not just as thoroughfares but also as urban centres that embody the cosmopolitan values associated with Antarctica itself: international cooperation, scientific innovation and ecological protection.

This presentation focusses particularly on Hobart. At a time when state and federal governments are financially and rhetorically reinforcing this city’s Gateway status, we report on a survey of citizens’ own sense of connectedness to the Antarctic region. We explore the implications of the survey results for current plans to enhance Hobart’s connections with the region to its south and suggest how the city’s Antarctic identity may be further fostered.

Origin Stories at the End of the World. Blue Materialisms in Antarctica

Ms Susanne Ferwerda1

1University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

 

Nietzsche described the world as “a monster of energy, a sea of forces” and upheld the idea that the world is a singular space, at once solid and fluid, definite and somehow eternal. And while he saw no beginning or end to this world, evolutionary biologists generally suppose life had liquid origins. By extension, current debates on the effects of changing climates on human life often focus on the changing state of Earth’s liquids, visualising planetary change in millimeters of sea level rise and an increase of extreme weather events.

In Antarctica, a landmass covered in ice and surrounded by water, stories of beginnings and endings come together. Antarctica has historically been imagined as a continent at the ‘end of the world’: a site of ‘untouched’ wilderness, still unspoiled by human hands. But in recent years, these origin stories of a pristine dessert of ice have given way to more complex Antarctic imaginaries. Drawing on stories of Antarctica that connect beginnings and endings in the Anthropocene, this paper calls for the entanglement of wet, watery and blue materialisms with the stories we tell about the most watery spaces on Earth.


Biography:

Susanne Ferwerda is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Tasmania. After completing a Research Masters in Gender Studies at Utrecht University, she is currently doing a PhD that examines contemporary oceanic imaginaries in the Anthropocene.

‘The collapse of centre and periphery’: an urbanising Southern Ocean amongst a de-urbanising world

Ms Charity Edwards1,2

1Monash University, Melbourne, Australia,

2University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

 

Contemporary understandings of the Southern Ocean are eclipsed by ‘wilderness’ aspirations, diminishing our capacity to recognise human-driven processes in, and increasing urbanisation of, the Antarctic. This, despite a long history of resource extraction, industrial networks, and embedded infrastructure across the region; and growing exploitation and exploration interests in the Southern Ocean itself. The world’s most vulnerable (and yet powerful) ocean reveals an extension of urban processes beyond the container of ‘the city’ and the transformation of vast landscapes. However, just as urban processes extend beyond the bounds of ‘the city’, so too does the ocean exceed the littoral edge – with serious consequences for urban viability along ravaged coastlines. While much research considers sea level rise impacts upon cities, it also relegates the ocean to the periphery of such discussions. Cities are ‘secured’ by ‘off-shoring’ ecological disruption to the beyond, all while ‘de-urbanising’ occurs alongside the masking of an urban Southern Ocean. In this paper, I examine the ongoing urbanisation of the ocean and its unexpected inverse: the ocean’s de-urbanisation of cities. ‘The collapse of centre and periphery’ is a rehearsed argument in urban discourse, but the urbanising Southern Ocean makes apparent relationships constituted at a worryingly planetary scale.


Biography:

Charity Edwards (M.Arch, M.Env) is a lecturer and urban researcher in the Department of Architecture at MADA (Monash Art, Design, and Architecture), and a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne’s School of Design.

Her research explores destructive, uneven, and more-than-human impacts of urbanisation and climate change at the scale of the planet; and she foregrounds the long-disregarded space of the ocean in these processes in particular.

Charity is currently investigating the increasing urbanisation of the Southern Ocean; asking how and why this so often conflicts with the popular understanding of Antarctica as “like being on another planet”.

charity.edwards@monash.edu

Antarctic Geopolitics and Australian Heritage: Historic Sites and Monuments of the ‘frozen’ continent

Ms Rebecca Hingley1

1UTAS (IMAS), Hobart, Australia

 

While a few attempts have been made to investigate the relationship between Antarctic geopolitics and Antarctic material heritage, the manipulation of the continent’s official Historic Sites and Monuments (HSMs) by political actors both on as well as off the continent is yet to be examined. However, these places and objects are by no means ‘frozen in time’ as the narrative of Antarctic exceptionalism would suggest. Rather, they are susceptible to the political, social and cultural forces that affect the rest of the globe. In an effort to best exploit the political value these HSMs have to offer, different strategies are adopted depending on whether the audience being addressed is located inter-nationally, intra-nationally, or even extra-nationally.

In order to better grasp state behaviour with regard to the regulation and management of Antarctic historic and cultural material remains, this paper will analyse just one nominating party and its entries on the HSMs list: Australia. Despite laying claim to 42 per cent of the Antarctic continent, Australia has just four independent historic sites or monuments featuring on the list: three rock cairns and Cape Denison. This paper investigates Australia’s geopolitical use and consumption of its HSMs both on and off the ice.


Biography:

Rebecca is a PhD candidate from the the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) and School of Humanities at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), Hobart, Australia. Her project is investigating the geopolitical significance of Antarctic heritage and she is now in her second year of candidature. Prior to undertaking this project, she completed a Master of International Affairs and Bachelor of Arts at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia.

Hobart as an Antarctic City: Thinking Beyond the “Gateway”

Prof. Elizabeth Leane2, Dr Hanne Nielsen1, Dr Chloe Lucas3, Assoc. Prof. Juan Francisco Salazar4, Ms Doita Datta1

1School of Humanities, University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia,

2Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia,

3School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia,

4Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia

 

The five so-called “Antarctic Gateway Cities” of Hobart (Australia), Christchurch (New Zealand), Punta Arenas (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina) and Cape Town (South Africa) share a geographic proximity to the far south. They are recognized as the main international points of departure to and from the Antarctic region, as all significant engagement with Antarctica currently goes through these cities. However, this status is both politically fragile and economically uneven. The “Antarctic Cities” Linkage Project, of which this presentation forms a part, examines ways in which these cities might act not just as thoroughfares but also as urban centres that embody the cosmopolitan values associated with Antarctica itself: international cooperation, scientific innovation and ecological protection.

This presentation focusses particularly on Hobart. At a time when state and federal governments are financially and rhetorically reinforcing this city’s Gateway status, we report on a survey of citizens’ own sense of connectedness to the Antarctic region. We explore the implications of the survey results for current plans to enhance Hobart’s connections with the region to its south and suggest how the city’s Antarctic identity may be further fostered.

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