Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 12, 2013

Scientists and Heroes: International Arctic Cooperation at the End of the Nineteenth Century

Alexander Kraus
From the journal New Global Studies

Abstract

The history of nineteenth century Arctic exploration is usually narrated as an ongoing race to the North Pole – by boat, sledge and balloon. The longer this race lasted, the more it became a truly national obsession and an object of public interest. Most of the participating nations were interested as well in completing the age-long quest for the Northwestern or the Northeastern passage, mostly driven by geopolitical and economic concerns or nationalist ambitions. These expeditions created national heroes by the dozen: As countless of the Arctic expeditions became icebound, the ships got crushed by the ice quite often, the adventurers found themselves in a battle with one of the harshest environments on earth. In this article, a different narrative is presented next to the one of sensational nineteenth century Arctic exploration. In this heyday of nationalism and territoriality, other territorial concepts were not only thinkable but also practicable. There was at least one major exception to the production of national heroic adventure tales: The First International Polar Year 1882–1883.

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  2. 2

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  4. 4

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  6. 6

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  7. 7

    “An international polar expedition,” The Daily Astorian, 2 April 1881.

  8. 8

    See “Polar research,” New York Tribune, 19 December 1880; “A polar reconnaissance,” Pall Mall Gazette, 2 February 1881.

  9. 9

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  10. 10

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  11. 11

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  12. 12

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  13. 13

    See “The New Arctic Campaign,” Worcestershire Chronicle, 15 April 1882; untitled article in Liverpool Mercury, 30 June 1882, 5.

  14. 14

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  15. 15

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  16. 16

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  17. 17

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  18. 18

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  19. 19

    “Polar Conference,” London Standard, 19 Aptil 1884.

  20. 20

    “A Cordon around the North Pole Basin,” The Somerset Herald, 27 December 1882.

  21. 21

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  22. 22

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  23. 23

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Published Online: 2013-07-12

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