Environmental Imaginaries of the Arctic in the 21st Century Travel Writing

Abstract

Contemporary travel accounts engage with the ecocritical agenda, examining the global environmental crisis caused by human actions. In contrast to earlier narratives that presented the Arctic as a territory to be “claimed,” today’s travelers predominantly view it as a territory to be preserved. Amid the dialectic of destruction and preservation, new environmental imaginaries emphasize the interconnectedness of nature and human history, employing literary techniques to convey this interdependence. William E. Glassley in his book A Wilder Time: Notes From a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice (2018) adopts a “trans-scalar” perspective for narrating his Arctic journeys, seamlessly shifting between microscopic and macroscopic views of the planet, its elements and inhabitants. Glassley’s imaginary of the Arctic as an “indivisible whole” draws from geological and biological sciences. As a geologist, he underscores the unity of Earth’s substances, highlighting the entanglement of geo- and lifecycles. The Arctic, devoid of history during travelers’ presence, reveals its story through geological analysis of collected specimens. Ice, as an archive of planetary history, surpasses human records. Travel literature thus contributes to crafting an environmental imaginary rooted in substantial temporal interconnectedness, addressing the Anthropocene’s challenges.

Author Biographies

Ekaterina S. Purgina, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia; University of Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia

Ekaterina S. Purgina is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade, Serbia, and the Center for Advanced Studies Southeast Europe (CAS SEE), University of Rijeka, Croatia. Her principal research interests encompass narrative analysis, digital narratives, travel writing, spatial imaginaries, and environmental imaginaries. Recent publications: Sights and Scars of Imagined Geography: Journeys through Environmental Disasters in Post-Soviet Countries (co-authored). Green Letters, 2022; Dva tipa sobytii v narrativakh o peresechenii granits (na materiale sovremennykh travelogov) [Two Types of Events in Border-Crossing Narratives of Contemporary Travelogues]. Filologichesky Klass, 27(2), 2022.

Andrey S. Menshikov, University of Central Asia, Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic/Khorog, Tajikistan

Andrey S. Menshikov is an Associate Professor at the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Central Asia. His principal research interests include social and political theories of modernity, multidisciplinary approaches to moral reasoning, religion in public space, and inter-confessional relations. Recent publications: Transformacija semejnyh svjazej pod vlijaniem vspomogatel'nyh reproduktivnyh tehnologij [Transformation of family relations under the influence of assisted reproductive technologies, co-authored], Quaestio Rossica, 10(2), 2022; Sights and Scars of Imagined Geography: Journeys through Environmental Disasters in Post-Soviet Countries (co-authored). Green Letters, 2022; Moral Choice and the Concept of Evil in Military Narratives of Orthodox Christians. Changing Societies & Personalities, 6(4), 2022; Ethical aspects of military leadership in modern warfare (Memoirs of the Commanders-in-Chief in Afghanistan and Chechnya). Filozofija i društvo, 33(4), 2022.

Published
2023-12-27
How to Cite
Purgina, E., & Menshikov, A. (2023). Environmental Imaginaries of the Arctic in the 21st Century Travel Writing. Changing Societies & Personalities, 7(4). doi:10.15826/csp.2023.7.4.257
Section
Articles